Valeri Bojinov goes head to head with City team-mates Richard Dunne and Shay Given in Sofia on Saturday night - and the Bulgaria striker has warned his pals that nothing less than victory will do.
Boji, whose end-of-term goal at Tottenham confirmed he has put his injury-hit season behind him, has the Republic of Ireland in his sights in a World Cup qualifier that means friendships must go on hold.
The Blues favourite said: "We're up against Dunney and Shay and an Ireland team we respect as a good side - it will be difficult, but we need to find a win to qualify, so it's a very big game and very important to me.
"I love to play for the national team and always give 100 per cent anyway. But I really want to play in the World Cup next year. When you do that, you open more doors for everything. But Ireland will be a very big test for me, Martin Petrov and the other guys."
That includes Dimitar Berbatov, and their friendship stretches across the city divide. Boji added: "We are all friends in the Bulgaria team. I told him 'well done' for winning the title. We all play for Bulgaria - we go out and have dinner, that's normal."
For his part, Blues skipper Dunne has warned his Republic team-mates to be on their guard against Bojinov, who - along with Petrov and Berbatov - missed the 1-1 draw in Dublin earlier in the Group Eight campaign.
He said: "Valeri's a very sharp player, if anything spills around the box he's usually on the end of it and he doesn't miss too many. Him, Petrov and Berbatov, if they come back into the team, can really cause us problems."
With Italy are not in action in the latest round of qualifiers, Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic can claim top spot in the group over the summer as they look to continue on the road to South Africa 2010.