Vincent Kompany has expressed his love for Manchester City ahead of tonight’s testimonial match at the Etihad Stadium.
The defender decided to call time on his 11-year association with the Club in the summer having won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields, playing 360 times and scoring 20 goals.
He left the Club at the end of the Fourmidables campaign to take charge of Anderlecht, the Club he spent 14 years at as a youngster.
Asked which of the two Clubs he loves the most, he said: “I can’t say. I love both clubs, in different ways.
"Manchester is in my heart; Anderlecht is in my blood.
“I can’t say how much I love those teams.
“I love Manchester. I met my wife Carla here. My first game I was man of the match against West Ham and from then on I’ve never been happier.”
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Tonight’s game sees a Manchester City Legends side take on a Premier League All-Stars XI.
The All-Stars contain a heavy dose of former Manchester United players, including Edwin van der Sar, Gary and Phil Neville, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie.
Kompany says the decision to invite so many former United players was strategic one because it fits neatly into the purpose of the evening, which is to raise money for Tackle4MCR, the initiative Vinnie set up with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to address rough sleeping and homelessness on the streets of our city.
“We are specifically dealing with homelessness in Greater Manchester and you can’t have a successful project without the red side,” Kompany said.
“We’ve got our differences, that’s clear, but if we can get together for these types of events we make the city stronger. Look how Manchester has progressed in ten years. The Blue side has come up and helped the regeneration.”
However, there's a cruel irony ahead of the game: Kompany himself is unable to play after suffering a hamstring injury, but he says there are still plenty of reasons for people to come and enjoy the night.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be starting or playing tonight," he said. "It’s typical of me, right? I’m there for the end of the season!
"I have a slight hamstring injury so couldn’t risk it and there are plenty of awesome players. It’s about the celebration and we are doing it for an unbelievable cause. That takes priority for me. I will be there for David Silva!”
And asked if had approached Yaya Toure about being involved, Kompany said: “Of course I’ve asked Yaya!
“He’s in China and his club are serious about getting promoted. He apologised but of course he had to be there.”
The game will be played at the Etihad Stadium this evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm. All proceeds go to Tackle4MCR - the initiative Vinnie set up with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham - to address rough sleeping and homelessness on the streets of our city.