Vincent Kompany will join his boyhood club Anderlecht as a player-manager after partying ways with Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 33-year-old leaves the Etihad Stadium after a long period of 11 years, during which he has won 13 domestic titles the club.
He has put pen to paper on a 3-year deal with the Belgian club. Kompany featured for Man City in their 6-0 victory over Watford on Saturday in the FA cup final at Wembley, officially signing out with four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League cups.
In an open letter on Facebook, Kompany said City “has given me everything”.
“Countless of times have I imagined this day. After all, the end has felt nearby for so many years,” he said.
“Man City has given me everything. I’ve tried to give back as much as I possibly could,” he added before releasing a second letter just hours later, in which the Belgium defender announced his move to Anderlecht, who said his arrival marked the “return of the prince”.
“I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations. With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium” Kompany remarked.
Kompany first joined Anderlecht at the age of six and scored five goals in 73 games for the club from 2003 to 2006. He joined City from Hamburg as a defensive midfielder in 2008 and three years later, he was named club captain.
“The time has come for me to go now. 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,” Kompany said.
“I remember the first day, as clear as I see the last. I remember the boundless kindness I received from the people of Manchester.
“I will never forget how all Man City supporters remained loyal to me in good times and especially bad times. Against the odds, you have always backed me and inspired me to never give up.”
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “There have been many important contributors to Manchester City’s renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany.
“He defines the essence of the club. For a decade he has been the lifeblood, the soul, and beating heart of a supremely talented squad.
“A booming voice in the dressing room yet a quiet and measured ambassador off it, Vincent can be as proud of himself as we are of him.”