Vincent Kompany has been central to Manchester City's success for the past 10 years - and he battled back from a season dogged by more injuries to shine in Sunday's League Cup final win over Arsenal...
"He made an outstanding performance today."
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had watched from the Wembley turf as Kompany lifted aloft the League Cup for a third time. Later he paid tribute to City's captain for his stellar display.
"It's not easy to defend 40 metres in front with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he's so fast, making attacking runs in behind, it's so complicated."
It was a first-class performance from the centre-back. But even recently, there was no guarantee Kompany would shine again in a moment such as this.
City's £57m January purchase of Aymeric Laporte appeared to signal the end of Kompany's trophy-laden but injury-hit decade at the club. With a calf problem consigning him to the physio's room for much of this campaign City had to seek alternatives.
But the Belgian has shown, with his repeated returns from the 41 injuries he's suffered since coming to the Premier League, that his determination is second to none. He battled back to fitness and into Guardiola's first-team for the Carabao Cup final.
"You always have to be ready," he told Sky Sports after Sunday's victory. "I'm training well, I'm supporting the lads when I don't play, and I'm giving everything I have. You get a call-up and you just do the job."
Against Arsenal he was magnificent. While at one end of the pitch the Gunners were slammed for "schoolboy errors", 31-year-old Kompany, in just his 14th appearance for club and country this season, was expertly marshalling the lethal pace of Aubameyang.
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All of the centre-back's experience was on show in the first half as he manoeuvred himself into the perfect position to nullify a dangerous through-ball which seemed set to send the Arsenal striker clear. The Gabon man managed just one shot all game.
In the second half a thumping challenge on the burly, surging Sead Kolasinac underlined Kompany's appetite for the fight.
He finished the game having won the ball back for his team more times than any other player on the pitch. The only blemish, a booking for bringing down Danny Welbeck.
Kompany is an outstanding footballer and there's nothing more painful when you see a player of his ability who just can't get out there on the pitch and give his all.
Arsenal badly needed that mastery in their own backline. Perhaps Arsene Wenger, stood on the touchline as City pulled his defence apart, thought back to 2006 when he was in the mix to sign Kompany as a young prospect from Anderlecht.
That is ancient history now, of course. And Kompany wrote his name into the latest League Cup annals, smartly re-directing Ilkay Gundogan's shot past David Ospina.
Kompany - who had won the preceding corner with neat footwork at the by-line - enjoyed a sweet celebration in front of the jubilant City fans, in the knowledge the goal, City's second, took them out of reach of the fragile Londoners.
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"If you look back on my personal situation, you'd be prepared to put in six months of hard work," said Kompany. "It's worth every minute of hard work to be standing out there."
Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany. City's goalscorers will each go down as legends at the club. The heroes of the modern era which has seen them claim silverware by the bagful.
At the heart of that success stands Kompany. A rock in defence. The scorer of occasional but often important goals. And, despite the many setbacks, a symbol of resilience and excellence.