[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
The 30-year-old Belgian last saw the field for seven short minutes nearly a full month ago, as his Man City teammates clinched a place in the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in club history, without him.
Fast forward to Tuesday’s quarterfinal return leg against Paris Saint-Germain, and Kompany is once again back in first-team training, in a race against time to be the first name on Manuel Pellegrini‘s teamsheet when the two sides battle at the Etihad Stadium for a place in the semifinals — Pellegrini quotes from the Guardian:
“It’s a difficult decision. I think the easiest decision is for Vincent to play but it’s not easy to know if he really can play, if he is able to play 90 minutes, he is 100 percent recovered, not to come off in the first 10 minutes. It’s not an easy decision. We will assess him Sunday and Monday. Sunday will be the first day he will work with the team [in the warm-down]. It’s difficult but we’ll see.
“From the moment he starts working with the squad he has a chance but he has not played for about a month. We will wait. We must test him. We must speak with him. We must do a lot of different things. We must take the correct decision. I always talk with the player. If he’s ready he will want to play.”
While it might be Kompany’s last chance for a famous European run with City, it’s definitely the last chance for Pellegrini, who’ll step aside to make way for Pep Guardiola this summer, to cement his name in the club’s history. If you’re Pellegrini, do you want to roll the dice and risk everything on a player who has a history of being forced off through injury inside a game’s opening minutes?
If you’re a City fan, as much as Kompany has surely meant to you — two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup in the last five years — are you willing to risk your club’s best chance at winning the very competition in which success has eluded you despite a wealth of success in other competitions?
Kompany has been a fantastic servant for Man City — he’ll go down as an all-time great in the club’s history — but one of the greatest keys to success in sports is knowing when it’s time to move on,
even especially when the heart tells you not to.