If that was Vincent Kompany‘s final match at the Etihad Stadium as a Manchester City player, it was just about a dream finish for the veteran defender.
Kompany’s 30-yard blast found the top corner, whooshing past the diving Kasper Schmeichel as Manchester City kept its hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City. Kompany, 33, is in the final two months of his current contract with Manchester City, and could conceivably retire or head to a new club come June 30, unless he reaches an agreement with the club to extend his stay. Although he’s pound-for-pound one of the best centerbacks in the world, he’s started less than half of Man City’s matches in each of the last four seasons, struggling with a myriad of muscular injuries.
“I said before the game ‘no shoot Vinny’,” Pep Guardiola said, jokingly, via Man City’s website. “He was right to not follow my thoughts. Incredible. The desire to win every game. There are important players in that club, it is more than one century history this club, not a lot of titles in trophy cabinet but a lot of players help us to be where we are right now.
“When fit, Vinny is an incredible player. He is real defender with personality and leader happy for him for the club and everybody.”
For most of his career for club and country, Kompany has been much more known for keeping goals out than scoring them. And even when he has scored, it’s often been with his head, or on a scrum in the penalty area. His goal on Monday showcased the brilliant technical ability he has. In the Premier League of the past, players of his strength and stature were more brute and brawn than finesse. Think Robert Huth or Philippe Senderos.
And yet, what sets Kompany apart from the rest of the pack is, when fit, he’s lightning quick, can play quick, zip passes on the ground or in the air, and he apparently can strike a ball as good as a forward or midfielder.
Following the match, Guardiola also lauded Kompany for what he did at Manchester City. Though Kompany is from Belgium originally, you don’t think of Man City without thinking of Kompany. Since his arrival at Man City, he’s seen the club go from a basically mid-table team with big ambitions to within a half dozen years, win the Premier League, and then within a decade, become one of Europe’s most ambitious and talented clubs.
Kompany is a big reason for that, even if his impact has been muted by injuries the past four seasons.
Ultimately, with Kompany’s contract running down, this may have been his last Premier League game in Man City colors at the Etihad. While Guardiola clearly appreciates what Kompany can bring, he also likely wants to have someone who will be fitter, and younger, especially with Man City surely attempting the quadruple again next year. Per Guardiola, we won’t know what will happen regarding Kompany until after the season. But talks are ongoing. So perhaps this wasn’t goodbye, just yet.
“We spoke with him and his agent,” Guardiola told the BBC. “At the end of the season we are going to talk to him. He is an incredible human being and he helps me a lot. Always I was sad I could not use him a lot but this club is what it is because of people like Vincent. At the end of the season after the FA Cup we will see.
“We will finish the season and after are going to talk. We spoke with him three weeks ago, one month ago. We spoke fluently. We are going to take a beer together and decide what is best especially for the club.”