Vincent Kompany announced an end to 11 trophy-laden years at Manchester City on Sunday.
The next stop in his career will be Anderlecht, where he began his football career at the age of six. He will assume the role of player-manager at the Brussels-based club.
“The time has come for me to go now,” Kompany wrote of his City departure on Facebook.
“As overwhelming as it is, I feel nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful to all those who supported me on a special journey, at a very special club.”
The 33-year-old concludes his time at Manchester City after captaining Pep Guardiola’s team to a domestic treble, the first time a club has achieved that feat in the English game. Overall, Kompany leaves after Saturday’s FA Cup final trouncing of Watford with four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and four League Cups to his name.
Kompany arrived at City from Hamburg in 2008 for around £8 million and won an early cult following for his composed, intelligent performances in defensive midfield. He was then moved into the middle of defense, where he would earn a reputation as one of the greatest center-backs of the Premier League era.
Kompany succeeded Carlos Tevez as Manchester City captain in 2011, a few months after the club had won the FA Cup – its first piece of silverware in 35 years – and he had won both the players’ and supporters’ player of the season awards. His opening term as skipper saw City win their first top-flight title in 44 years, with Kompany heading home a crucial winner in the run-in against Manchester United.
The Belgian developed a reputation for scoring vital goals. In addition to the header against United, he scored on the final day of the 2013-14 title-winning season, in the 2018 League Cup final against Arsenal, and he netted a thunderbolt against Leicester City in City’s penultimate match of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Following years of elongated spells in the treatment room, Kompany established himself as the first-choice center-back alongside Aymeric Laporte during the final weeks of this season.
“Hard to put into words what you have done for this club over the last decade,” Francis Lee, a playing icon and former chairman of City, tweeted. “A captain, a leader, a legend, a true gent, and a great, great player! You will be sorely missed!”
Kompany has always kept close ties with his homeland. He’s won 87 caps for his country and founded BX Brussels in 2013, a club which focuses on improving the futures of youth in the town where he was born and raised. He described his return to Anderlecht as “the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made” in his open letter.
He continued: “The end of this season couldn’t be more memorable. I have lived the dream here. I have learned so much the last three years. From an incredible manager. Pep Guardiola reignited my love for the game. I’ve witnessed, participated, analyzed, absorbed, studied. Man City play the football I want to play. It is the football I want to teach and to see played.”
Kompany also vowed to “put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium.”