Vincent Kompany’s five best games for Manchester City | Jamie Jackson | Football
Signed only two days before from Hamburg the then 22-year-old went straight into Mark Hughes’s XI. Vincent Kompany dovetailed smoothly with Michael Johnson in midfield, according to the former Arsenal striker and now pundit, Alan Smith. In front of a City defence that featured Tal Ben-Haim, Micah Richards, Vedran Ćorluka and Michael Ball, with Joe Hart the goalkeeper, this was a display of long range passing and firefighting. It would not be too long before Kompany started playing regularly in his familiar centre-back berth.
Yaya Toure scored the winner as Kompany became the first Belgium to claim an FA Cup winners-medal, his dominant performance permitted a Stoke attack, led by Kenwyne Jones, scant chance of breaching Hart’s goal. This was the first of the 10 major honours City have claimed under Sheikh Mansour’s ownership and Kompany was present for them all. It is also the only one for which he did not captain the team, with Carlos Tevez wearing the armband on that occasion. The final followed a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the previous round, a match Kompany cites as a personal favourite.
Kompany may have scored the winner in the derby against Manchester United two weeks previously but this was the game with the Aguerooooooo goal title-winning strike that came in 93 minutes and 20 seconds that, as The Guardian headlined Daniel Taylor’s piece in these pages, ended 44 years of hurt, with Kompany leading City to a first championship since 1968. The Belgian was, by now, rated the country’s finest centre-half and he summed up the breathless manner of the triumph aptly. “You want to say it’s the best moment of your life, after the birth of my child and my wedding, but please never again this way, please.”
This was a second last-day, title-clinching win in two years and, after Samir Nasri scored on 39 minutes, Kompany broke Liverpool hearts with the clincher four minutes into the second half as Manuel Pellegrini’s team became champions. Kompany said: “Forget about the money and everything. As a kid you grow up and dream of lifting trophies – I feel like I am living that dream when I do this. We’re building a club, not just a team that wins trophies now and again. Next year we need to be even better. If you want to be a big club then this must be one of so many.” Portentous last words.
It was schoolboy fantasy stuff for what proved to be Kompany’s final goal for City and what a final one to strike. With Liverpool relentless in their pursuit of Pep Guardiola’s men Brendan Rodgers’s team had to be beaten. Yet as the clock reached 71 minutes with the game scoreless, time was ebbing away at City’s title ambitions, untilup stepped the 33-year-old to hammer home a 25-yard net-buster that secured the three points and what was a pivotal victory. Within the next two weeks Kompany had lifted the Premier League trophy for a fourth time and the FA Cup for a second. What a way to bow out.