Kompany: "I want to stay with the club for at least four seasons and prove that Anderlecht can play a modern style of football"
Monday 17 August 2020 12:08, UK
Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has retired as a player to become manager of Anderlecht on a four-year deal.
The four-time Premier League champion joined the Belgian side in a player-manager role in May 2019 and moved into a new position as co-manager to Franky Vercauteren, but has now announced his retirement as a player.
Kompany, 34, left City at the end of the 2018/19 season after making 360 appearances across all competitions in order to return to his boyhood club.
Arriving from Hamburg in 2008 for a fee of around £6m, Kompany went on to win four top-flight titles as well as two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields in 11 years - becoming a City legend in the process.
"I want to fully commit to my role as a coach and need 100 per cent of my time and focus for it," Kompany told the Anderlecht club website. "That's why I'm quitting as a football player. Our ambition and our hunger remains the same.
"I want to stay with the club for at least four seasons and prove that Anderlecht can play a modern style of football, with results. I want to thank Franky (co-manager Frank Vercauteren) for all his help."
Anderlecht chief executive Karel Van Eetvelt added: "As everybody knows, this was always the plan.
"It might have come a little sooner than expected, but Vincent committing himself for another four seasons to the club is great news for the club, our supporters and our players."
Footballers past and present paid tribute to Kompany following news of his retirement on Monday, including former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who played with the defender for Belgium.
In an exclusive sit-down with Sky Sports in 2019, Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany looked back on 11 glittering years at the Etihad Stadium...
"Going through the transition with City, and missing out on all these titles in the first years, and then hardship in terms of expectations, failing, expectations, failing, and then carrying on. When I look back on this, it's better doing it this way, for me anyway.
"I know I played a role in shaping the culture of the club, and probably the future of the club, and that means a lot. There aren't many clubs where you can do it like this. It was a special journey.
"The owners came in, and they were owners who give you time to build, the perfect type of owners for the club. So many come in and say they're going to pile money in, be successful, but never achieve it. That ownership group came in and said they were going to build a plan and vision, and can anyone doubt they did that?
"Not everything was bad when I arrived, we had to change some of the players to become a winning team, but it was a great club with a fantastic history, and I think that's the thing I tried to keep sharing."
"I could have ended up at another club, and out of four league titles you could have maybe turned it into eight, depending on which club you go to, and how successful it is.
"It's a competitive club, City. It's not like you can sit down for a year and wait around for what happens. Every transfer window, every six months, you are competing with the rest of the world. Anyone better in the world, they have the responsibility to get to improve the team, and so nobody gives you the gift of staying at City for 11 years, you have to earn it for 11 years.
"Doing this, while being impeded by your body, my mother would have been proud of me."
"I became a Manc by the end of it. All of these core values I had before I was a Manc, so when I just signed, I kind of transported them through the years. By the end of it I still think there is a strong identity of Manchester that remains in someone who never came from Manchester.
"If someone gets a knock on the pitch, you just get up, get on with it. You're in Manchester. It doesn't matter whether you are a beautiful, £100m player, because you're in Manchester you're going to get up, and get on with it. That's the side of Manchester I tried to keep throughout, and I think the group was shaped a bit like this because of myself and others.
"I mean, Carla [Kompany's wife] and her family are massive blues. There's the odd red, who still gets in at Christmas! But I got myself in a place where it always meant a lot for me, more than at anywhere else."
"Typical City fashion would have been to lose the game and blow it. That's what typical City meant in those days. Now typical City is defined by the Kun Aguero moment, you don't give up, you come back and win games.
"Was my goal against Leicester more important? His goal was more important! Mine, well, looked better, which I never thought I'd have on him!
"But his was crucial. He did do his best to wait until that time, because he had the worst 93 minutes of his career, and I would have had a word to say about this after the game if he didn't' score, but that's the beauty of his job! One second can always turn it around."
"I'm not an emotional kind of guy. But it was borderline emotional when I scored a goal, and probably because everyone jumped on me and you couldn't see me. But I thought: 'What if this is the goal, what if this is the clean sheet we keep to the end of the game, and that gives us the title.'
"The game finished 1-0, the kids came on the pitch, technically my last game for the club at home, and I already knew [I was leaving]. So it was very emotional for that reason. But it's a time I'll never forget, City fans will never forget. Not disclosing it felt right. It wasn't about me, it was about winning what we needed to win, and then after there is always time for goodbyes.
"It was hard to keep the emotion in. I'm looking around and see this iconic stadium for me, and I see 57,000 people I'm genuinely grateful towards, and next to me my 11 team-mates, of which I have a few players in specific like Kun Aguero and David Silva, who I went through everything with, thinking: 'We're still standing and doing this together!' It was a night of emotions.
"That's why I will always remain very humble in my life because I think these kind of things only happen because you stay humble, driven and focused. Eventually, somebody says: 'Here you go, you get your reward.'"