Men's Team

City 'an incredible example' of how to develop as an elite club, says Kompany

City legend Vincent Kompany will make an emotional return to the Etihad with Burnley on Saturday having hailed City’s evolution into one of Europe’s most consistently successful sides as an ‘incredible example’ of how to develop as a Club.

The former Belgian centre half established himself as an iconic figure in City’s storied history over 11 memorable years between 2008 and 2019.

Captain Kompany it was who lifted the FA Cup in 2011 as we ended our 35-year wait for silverware. In the intervening years under Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and more latterly Pep Guardiola, Kompany went on to lift four Premier League titles, four League Cups and another FA Cup before leaving in 2019.

After a subsequent successful first spell in management as player-coach with Anderlecht, Kompany took charge of Burnley last summer and has made a magnificent start to his Turf Moor tenure, with the Lancashire club currently 13 points clear at the top of the Championship and on course for an immediate return to the Premier League.

His latest challenge sees Kompany lead Burnley to the Etihad for an eagerly-awaited Saturday tea time FA Cup quarter-final.


And as he looked ahead to what promises to be an emotional City return, the 36-year-old spoke of his admiration for the continuing evolution of the Club he led with such distinction for so long.

“I think its undeniable that City as a football brand now is an incredible example of how you do it well,” Kompany asserted.

“I think the biggest challenge has been over time to establish that kind of identity, that new identity.

“The club is a monster now, it’s a machine, it is huge.

“So being there at the beginning and seeing how it evolved into that, it was a really good journey.

“(Playing City at the Etihad) it is the toughest challenge anyone can have.

“In my opinion it’s the top five hardest challenge anyone can have – away from home at the Etihad, Anfield, Nou Camp, Bernabeu. These are dominant places where they are used to winning.”


Kompany also spoke of the impact made by Guardiola in his near seven years at the Etihad helm to date, a period which has seen a era of sustained success unparalleled in the Club’s proud 129-year history.

Under the Catalan’s leadership, City have won four Premier League titles, four League Cups and an FA Cup as well as reaching a maiden Champions League final, the initial period of which featured Kompany as captain.

Addressing the media at his pre-match press conference, Kompany spoke of his debt to Guardiola alongside the other City managers he played under in terms of what he had learned and gleaned from them.

But while many, the boss included, have tipped the Belgian as a potential future incumbent of the City manager’s seat, Kompany was also adamant he wanted to see Pep remain at the Etihad helm for as long as possible.

“In the end Pep has proven that for his record and the dominance in his achievements he is one of the best managers there has ever been,” Kompany pointed out.

“I am no different to any player that has ever played for him. You draw on what has made him so good and take them into your further career as a coach, but you draw on things from others as well.

“Pep has an incredible understanding of space and the detail of arriving into those spaces and being efficient with it.

“But other managers like Roberto Mancini, were incredible with the defence and desire for clean sheets and Manuel Pellegrini was more free-flowing and attacking so I would have taken from those people as well.

“I think he (Pep) should stay for another 10 years at Manchester City first and foremost. City is competing to win the Champions League, while we are competing to win the Championship so I don’t think those kind of conversations (being a potential future City boss) make sense.

“They need to have the best manager of the world.”

Kompany’s seismic impact and influence at the Etihad has, of course, been permanently recognised in the form of an iconic statue of the defender which is housed on the east concourse outside the stadium.

The Belgian spoke candidly of what that unique honour meant both to him and his family.

And as Kompany prepared to return to the Etihad for the first competitive match since his defining finale at the ground, which saw him net a crucial long-range strike to clinch a title defining 1-0 win against Leicester in May 2019, the Clarets boss revealed how that iconic moment had also convinced him it was the right time to bow out from City.

“It is hard to put into words how big an honour it (the statue) is,” Kompany admitted.

“And I feel extremely grateful and in the end that feeling and that emotion is something shared not just by myself, but by my family.

"When my dad saw it, it was more than anything (emotional) but when you mention it now, that is a bit weird!

“I think I got a massive recognition from the club for what I was, not just as a player, but as a competitor and also a leader in moments.

“As for the Leicester goal, that day was my moment…

“My decision in my head was formulated that this would be a good moment for me to leave, just a bit before the game.

“But it was solidified when the ball hit the net. It was done.

“I said to my missus, if I had said I was going to go back and said I was to continue then I would hope she would stop me.

“Then we won the league and the FA Cup and in the last game at Wembley (against Watford), I got a good 45 minutes because of the scoreline where I could watch the fans (and enjoy it).

“That is the way to end it and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”


City welcome Burnley to the Etihad Stadium at 17:45 (UK) on Saturday 18 March and you can follow the match across and the official app.

We will start live updates at 15:45 on our Matchday Centre and that will run throughout the afternoon.

Our Matchday Live programme will begin shortly before team news arrives at 16:45. With guests David James, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joleon Lescott giving their insight.

During the game, Alistair Mann and Andy Morrison will talk you through proceedings with our radio commentary offering.

Afterwards, we will bring you all the reaction from the Etihad Stadium before short and extended highlights are available from noon on Sunday.

CITY+ subscribers can also watch the entire 90 minutes back from midnight.