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  1. #1
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    Manchester City | 2018/19 season

    Guardian writers’ predicted position:1st (NB: this is not necessarily Nick Ames’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

    Last season’s position: 1st

    Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 4-6

    At the turn of September it will be a decade since Sheikh Mansour and his billions swept into Manchester, bringing with them a Robinho-suffused tide of optimism and the promise that nothing would be the same again. In the first instance things were wearily familiar, the explosion of optimism when their £32.5m signing cracked in a free-kick on his debut quickly being tempered by three goals from a Chelsea team who, in that first season, would finish 33 points clear of Mark Hughes’s side.

    “We are not going to do crazy stuff but it makes sense for us to build a dynasty,” Khaldoon al-Mubarak, installed as club chairman, said after the takeover had been formalised. The process has been iterative but last season the blocks fell into place and, after such a jaw-dropping procession to their third title in seven years, it seems the first stage of City’s project is complete. Under Pep Guardiola they have played football of a standard unparalleled in the Premier League era, give or take Arsenal’s sides from the early 2000s, and sent records tumbling in the process. The bar has been set dauntingly high and the measure of the project’s next phase will be City’s ability to meet it, then outjump it.

    It is a problem they have had before and that is why this season holds particular importance. No team have retained the Premier League title since Manchester United, in 2009, won their third in a row. City have tried and failed twice so it was worth listening to Vincent Kompany when, early in March and with first place essentially in the bag, the club captain sounded a warning.

    “We have won two titles at this club and both times when we came back there was an edge missing,” he said. “That is why it is so difficult to retain titles. Only special teams can do it and we have to become that special team this time.”

    The biggest factor City have in their favour for the nine months ahead is Guardiola, whose intense and sometimes prickly persona is the by-product of a ferocious desire for perfection. It seemed like a coup when, in May, he extended his contract for two years until 2021; he has never been committed to a football club for this long in his managerial career and appears besotted with an environment that has been purpose-built for him. A lack of internal politics helps: Guardiola has been allowed to work with scant distraction and the benefits have been astronomical.

    So how does one improve the side that has everything? This has been a summer of relatively minor tweaks, and City will essentially go with the squad that was expensively assembled to Guardiola’s satisfaction last season. The exception is Riyad Mahrez, who had been sought in January but arrived from Leicester for £60m in July. Mahrez, the best creative player outside last season’s top six, does not obviously replace anyone in the starting XI but his versatility will prove as useful as his flair.

    If he plays on the right then perhaps Raheem Sterling can be deployed through the middle, or maybe Bernardo Silva – whose exceptional Community Shield showing suggests much more should be expected this time around after a patchy first year – can be used regularly in the No 10 role that might suit him best. It is an addition that makes City more flexible, even trickier to second-guess, even harder to keep up with when Guardiola makes one of those quickfire, mid-game changes of shape that leave opponents flailing.

    Guardiola may still bring in a central midfielder before the transfer deadline, having been foiled in his pursuit of Jorginho. That deal broke down suddenly after the player opted to join Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea; there is no major reason to fret but City do look curiously light in his position, particularly now Yaya Touré is no longer around. The excellent Fernandinho, now 33, may need nursing back after playing an unfortunate part in Brazil’s World Cup elimination; İlkay Gündogan will play a major role while Kevin De Bruyne’s merits hardly need elucidating. Some dynamic back-up could be useful, unless one of City’s innumerable academy products can step up.

    The latter point will be worth marking, too. In contrast to his opposite number at Old Trafford, Guardiola took evident pleasure in leading a flock of youngsters through pre-season and particularly enjoyed a 3-2 comeback win over Bayern Munich in Miami.

    Phil Foden, the gifted 18-year-old playmaker, was involved throughout and the noise around him reached a crescendo when he performed so marvellously in the De Bruyne role against Chelsea at Wembley. The local boy has a real chance to make his mark, perhaps in some of the softer top-flight games to begin with. Guardiola has been criticised in some quarters for diverging from the youth development principles he honed at Barcelona, and a prominent role for Foden would speak more positively for the pathway at a club that have, so far this summer, sold or moved on 24 youngsters.

    In the short term, though, that would merely be the garnish for the owners’ burning ambition: to conquer Europe. A first Champions League win would crown everything City have achieved so far and an improvement on last season’s quarter-final finish, as a minimum, appears obligatory if Guardiola is to avoid a renewal of the scrutiny that dogged parts of his first season. The manager himself could do with scratching the itch: seven years have passed since the second, and most recent, of his successes in the competition.

    City were arguably unlucky to face Liverpool last time around in the Champions League: it is certainly reasonable to think they would have outplayed any of their overseas rivals among an underwhelming field. Real Madrid’s adaptation to a post-Ronaldo era lends an obvious opportunity now and it is not a huge stretch to see Jürgen Klopp’s side posing Guardiola his biggest challenge both at home and abroad.

    That poses another question: what if other opponents muster assaults of the intensity and aggression with which Liverpool motored to that 3-0 first-leg lead at Anfield? That performance set the mould for unsettling City.

    The likelihood is that City will break the spell and, at least, back up last season’s title with another, even if few expect another 19-point margin. Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus will score freely, De Bruyne and Leroy Sané will electrify, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will continue to mature at the back.

    Only once, in a final season at Barcelona during which he felt burned out, has Guardiola failed to win consecutive titles with the same team. City’s aim is that he will not have to feel the associated sense of emptiness again. “We’re here to help build a sustainable club,” Al-Mubarak said in 2008. “I think we’re going to have a blast doing it.” He thought correctly and the fun is unlikely to stop any time soon.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football...premier-league


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  2. #2
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    Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne is having tests on a right knee injury suffered in training on Wednesday.

    City said the extent of the injury suffered by the 27-year-old Belgium midfielder is "not yet known".

    In 2016, he missed 12 games after injuring his right knee during an EFL Cup semi-final victory over Everton.

    De Bruyne was City's player of the season last term, scoring 12 goals and providing 21 assists as his side won the Premier League and EFL Cup.

    City, who began their title defence with a 2-0 victory at Arsenal, next play Huddersfield at home on Sunday.

    They then face matches away to Wolves and at home to Newcastle before an international break.

    Their fifth match of the season is at home to Fulham on 15 September, with their first Champions League group game to take place on 18 or 19 September.

    City broke several records in 2017-18, including reaching 100 points, winning 32 matches and scoring 106 goals.

    Speaking to BBC Sport in a wide-ranging interview to be broadcast during Football Focus on Saturday (12:00 BST on BBC One), De Bruyne said City "will never have a season like last year" as they attempt to become the first Premier League champions since 2009 to retain the title.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45200783


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  3. #3
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    There has been a "shameful silence" over ongoing criticism of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, says a leading anti-racism campaigner.

    Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, has called for football's leading bodies to tackle the concerns.

    Ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright told BBC Radio 5 live on Monday that criticism of Sterling is motivated by racism.

    Lord Ouseley, in his weekly column for The Voice, suggested the winger could be "driven out of the English game".

    Sterling, 23, has faced frequent media disapproval, most recently for a tattoo of a rifle on his leg but also for purchasing clothes from Primark and buying his mother a house. He was also criticised over his World Cup performances for England in Russia.

    During the tournament, Sterling wrote a blog post for The Players' Tribune in which he said he no longer worries about the media "picking on him".

    In his column, Lord Ouseley, who founded Kick It Out 25 years ago to tackle racism and discrimination in football, asked the Football Association, Professional Footballers' Association and League Managers' Association to join the organisation in speaking out.

    He wrote: "Where is the FA on this? Where is the Premier League on this? Where are the PFA and LMA on this?

    "Where are the voices of the leaders in football on this? Are they happy to see a young black talent driven out of the English game because he is vilified unreasonably and unjustifiably while the governing bodies maintained a shameful silence?"

    Bobby Barnes, deputy chief executive of the PFA, told BBC Sport that Sterling should be celebrated rather than harshly treated because of misconceptions in the media.

    "He's a young lad who should be held up as a story of success against adversity," said Barnes, pointing to the respect that the winger has from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and England boss Gareth Southgate.

    "It's a shame there isn't more talk about a young man who has come to this country and built a great future and made a wonderful contribution to the clubs he's been at."

    The FA told BBC Sport it spoke to England players before the World Cup regarding concerns over racism in Russia. It said it wanted to make sure players felt they had the backing of the governing body should they need it, and that those support networks remain in place.

    Lord Ouseley added: "The 23-year-old is successful and well-off by anybody's standards - the red-top sniping at him does smack of resentment towards a young, black man from humble roots, as if he's somehow not entitled to enjoy the fruits of his hard work, talent and dedication."

    He wrote that Sterling may have been cast as a "pantomime villain" - with criticisms of his on-field performances meant sincerely - but asked whether there was a "racial undercurrent" to the media coverage.

    Lord Ouseley added: "Ian Wright has spoken out and I applaud him for it. We at Kick It Out will speak out too - how many influential figures in the game will join us?"

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45196259


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  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    It was the look on Mark Hughes’s face that lingered in the memory. His first press conference since that seminal day – 1 September 2008 – when Manchester City came under the ownership of the Abu Dhabi royal family. Hughes was behind his desk in the manager’s office, trying to make sense of it all, and occasionally looking up to the whiteboard where Robinho’s name had been added to his team for their weekend game. Robinho? No words were necessary.

    Everything was very different at Manchester City back then. The greeting at the main entrance came in the Glaswegian accent of Jim Corbett, a former bombardier, in the hut he had decorated with posters of Ricky Hatton, rather than the welcome you can expect today from a small battalion of security guards, with their walkie-talkies, blazers and dangling earpieces.

    City did not even include a trophy cabinet when they moved into the Commonwealth Games stadium in 2003. All their collectables, including a porcelain cow, were stored in a dimly lit room and nobody should be surprised that when Vincent Kompany arrived with the most fortuitous timing, 10 days before the takeover, he can remember the dressing-room toilet did not even have a door. The groundsman, Lee Jackson, will tell you City were so skint he did not have enough white paint to do the lines on the pitch.

    And, despite everything, there was something rather endearing about City in the years before the money, when it was Manchester’s other club. “Manchester City has long been perceived as a ‘friendly’ club,” Mark Hodkinson writes in the book, Blue Moon, that offers the most insightful account, going back to the late 1990s. “In stereotypical terms, United is your out-of-town hypermarket, faceless, homogenised and shamelessly avaricious, while City is your friendly corner shop, all ‘how are you?’ and ‘nice-to-see-you’ love.”

    But City were also a club that dipped in and out of crisis, with a finely tuned reputation for magnificent failure, usually in comical circumstances. Their final game of the 2007-08 season was a nine-goal thriller at Middlesbrough. The problem was Middlesbrough scored eight. The wind howled, the curtains trembled. Kompany can also recall wondering why there was no coffee machine at the training ground. “We can do you a cup of tea,” he was told. But coffee? No, pal, not at this club.

    City were football’s Slapstick XI and the idea they were about to become the richest club on the planet felt rather perplexing for those of us who had covered their bleakest times and remembered Sir Alex Ferguson listing United’s rivals, in order, as Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds. City tended not to get a mention unless Paul Hince, the chief sports writer and long-suffering Blue, was there from the Manchester Evening News and Ferguson wanted the latest from “the Temple of Doom”.

    Yet here we are, 10 years to the day, and maybe it is easier to understand now what Hughes meant about City wanting to be “bigger than the Big Four” (albeit with him not lasting too long under the new regime). Maybe Pelé was being a touch harsh when he said Robinho “needs serious counselling” for choosing City. Perhaps we journalists should not have sniggered when Garry Cook, City’s accident-prone chairman in those days of change, told us they would, in time, be the top team in Manchester. Cook came out with that line when the Premier League and Champions League trophies were United’s possessions, with Cristiano Ronaldo about to win his first Ballon d’Or and an advert for MUTV showing a skip outside Old Trafford, filled with empty cans of silver polish. It turns out Cook knew more than us, after all.

    Bernard Halford, the club’s life president, was there on the night everything changed, as the man who signed off the Robinho deal. “The papers went through at 10 minutes to midnight and there were fans outside, driving around the stadium, beeping their horns,” he recalls. “For City to spend £32m on a player was unheard of. A year before that, we’d have expected the entire team to cost £32m.”

    Halford’s association with City goes back to 1972 when he was appointed as the club secretary. He has worked with 22 managers (excluding caretakers), the last being Manuel Pellegrini, been through five relegations, five promotions and, pre-2008, toasted one solitary trophy. He is 77 now and better qualified than anyone to talk about the transformation of Manchester’s football landscape.

    “The biggest thing that tells you what we’ve become is when you’re in your car. I used to drive from Royton, where I lived, to Maine Road and I’d count how many shirts or scarves I’d see. Kids on zebra crossings, walking to school, that sort of thing. Red or blue? United or City? They outnumbered us, considerably. Not now, though. Now it can be 10-0, or even more.”

    Not everything has run as intended since Sheikh Mansour added the club to his portfolio. Cook’s 83-page blueprint pledged to turn them into “the Virgin of Asia and the world” with their own line of energy drinks, City-branded Mini Coopers, scooters, telephone cards, designer clothing stores and a chain of City Eating fast-food restaurants.

    Those plans never took off and – no apologies for repeating this story – Cook’s greatest moment came early on, discussing transfer targets with the new owners on a crackling telephone line from Abu Dhabi to Manchester. A comment about “it’s getting messy” was misheard and Cook immediately fired off a £30m bid to Barcelona. Apparently, he heard the instruction, amid all the excitement, as “let’s get Messi”.

    Likewise, perhaps you remember Sulaiman al-Fahim, Abu Dhabi’s equivalent of the old Harry Enfield Loadsamoney character, who fronted up the takeover and talked about making a £135m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as going for just about every other superstar footballer who might be available. Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and Fernando Torres were all namechecked. “Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see if he is serious,” Fahim said.

    To give them their due, Abu Dhabi quickly realised it needed a different approach. Fahim was sidelined and, PR-wise, City have got more right than wrong on the upward trajectory, featuring three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, 11 trips to Wembley, Sergio Agüero in the 94th minute, David Silva, Yaya Touré, Kevin De Bruyne, the 6-1 at Old Trafford, Carlos Tevez and Welcome to Manchester, Pep Guardiola and the Centurions, Mario Balotelli and Why Always Me?

    As anniversaries go, not everyone will wish to celebrate. Critics will question whether the mind-boggling amounts of money have been good for the sport as a whole. Abu Dhabi’s human rights record will conjure up headlines of a different kind and, as long as that remains the case, there will be misgivings about the people at the top of the empire.

    At City, though, the most prominent banner inside the stadium is to thank Sheikh Mansour and, though Robinho stayed only 15 months, it was the Brazilian’s signing that made the rest of the football take notice. City gazumped Chelsea in the process, making it the first time Roman Abramovich had ever been outmuscled in the transfer market. There was also a late attempt – unsuccessful – to hijack Dimitar Berbatov’s move from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United.

    “I remember it [the takeover] being announced on television with all the transfer deadline news and, the next thing, we’ve signed Robinho,” Kompany says. “As soon as he’s there, you’re looking at him and thinking: ‘OK, he’s extra-terrestrial.’ He would make us look silly doing keepie-ups with rolled-up socks. We were like: ‘OK, when can we head it?’ But then you start measuring yourself up against one of the best players in the world and you think: ‘You know what, I can do it.’ It was important to have a player like this within our team and it raised the profile of the club.”

    And, yes, Kompany can also report that it is possible now to get his brew of choice. “It was like one of those television makeover shows where they are building stuff and then there’s the big reveal. We went away for the international break and they changed everything at the training ground. I don’t know how they did it so fast. Next thing you know, we had this massive coffee machine come in from Nespresso. I think it was used so much it needed to go in for maintenance after two weeks. I said: ‘I told you coffee would work here.’”

    Those pitches are leased now to Bury of League Two. In the old days, City trained at Platt Lane, in the heart of Moss Side, where the local drunks would gather by the fence to shout abuse as the players jogged by. Now, there is a village-sized training ground opposite the Etihad Stadium and, as Halford says, it is a “buzzing area” full of new opportunities.

    “It’s beyond a football supporter’s dream, Alice in Wonderland stuff, and it’s not just the football team, it’s everything the sheikh has created for the city of Manchester,” Halford adds. “We’re top of everything – community schemes, job creation in what was a deprived area, our training ground, our academy. It’s not just a snowflake on the river, it’s long term.”

    And the next 10 years? That perhaps is the era that should frighten City’s rivals the most. “You can only see more pots on the shelf and, before long, the Champions League,” Halford says. “That would be the ultimate dream. And when we’ve won it, we’d say: ‘We want to win it again next year? Can we do it again? And again?’ We want to be up there with the great Real Madrid and Barcelona sides.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/football...P=share_btn_wa


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  6. #6
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    During All Or Nothing, Manchester City's recent documentary, there was a revealing contrast between the intensity of manager Pep Guardiola on the training pitch and the coolness of the club's boardroom, where Txiki Begiristain plotted his next move in the transfer market.

    Swivelling in his white leather chair, City's director of football gave the impression that he was several moves ahead of his opponents.

    Having Abu Dhabi owners, who have spent approximately £1.4bn on players alone during their 10-year reign clearly helps, but the former Barcelona director is keen to impress that it's money spent well.

    In a rare interview, he tells BBC Sport why some people cannot be trusted to spend money wisely, why City won't tear up the team if they don't succeed and why they are not yet feared in Europe.

    Txiki Begiristain welcomed £60m Riyad Mahrez from Leicester in the summer, taking Pep Guardiola's spending to £536m since he joined the club in 2016
    'We want to win this race. We need to do it fast'
    "You can give money to all kinds of people.

    "There are people who work and they do well and they spend all the money, and for nothing. They enjoy life for three or four years.

    "Then you give money to people who want to do well. Of course, they have to run and do it quick - but they spend the money and it stays there. Then you see the project, the philosophy, the way to work, a way to play. Once we get success doing it this way, we know that it is going to stay here forever.

    "It is true that we have spent a lot of money - that is because we want to move fast. We want to win this race. We need to do it fast. We need to spend the money.

    "The other clubs got there because they have been spending money for 50-60 years. They have been signing the best players in the world, spending a lot of money that Manchester City could not spend."

    Manchester City players during a training session
    City won the 2017-18 Premier League title by a 19-point margin over Manchester United
    'You don't need to change 11 players every year'
    "I know we cannot win all the time but that is the target. Everyone coming to this club has to know that we are here to win.

    "Not winning is a failure. Of course, it is going to happen. We are not here to think: 'We won the league last year, we will win it again in three years.'

    "The club stays; the people do not. People need to be successful, otherwise others will come. They are not coming here just to enjoy life - they are coming to fight to win.

    "We know if we don't win, it doesn't mean everyone will be out. If you fight, if you play well, if people are happy, if the idea is good and the idea works, then you change a couple of pieces in the squad and you are back again.

    "You don't need to change 11 players every year. You need to change two or three.

    "If you win, you need to bring someone in to create competition. If not, you have to improve some pieces, but the idea stays and the work is there to try and win again."

    Are European clubs intimidated by coming to the Etihad?
    "Not yet. We need to face those kinds of games. Getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League is the main target. Having the experience of playing in semi-finals helps you get to the finals.

    "We have to become a winning club. It doesn't mean we have to win the Premier League for the next 10 years. It means we have to fight for the title - really fight, be there.

    "If you do that, you know you are going to fight for the Champions League. It is a matter of getting the experience to play in those games: that game to win the league; that game to win the semi-final of the Champions League. You need time for this.

    "We are getting there. It is closer than we think. What happened last season helps now to become one of the favourites for everything. This is the pressure.

    "It is not only about the players you have. It is also what the club means for the opponent. If you go to [Real Madrid's stadium] the Bernabeu, you are playing against 11 players but you are also playing against the stadium, the history, everything. That history, that stadium, those players, affects everything - the opponent, the referee.

    "The only way to become one of them is to always be a winning club."

    Do you plan to get more young Mancunians in the team?
    "We are already working on it.

    "The City Football Academy is a signal from the owners that they are going to be here for a long time, that they believe in this city and this club, and that project has a long life.

    "There are two ways of finding talent. One is to look in the elite development squad and find who is coming through, who are the big names for the under-16s and under-18s. The other is when scouts come with names but they need to see the level we have here at home.

    "If someone is coming they have to be better than what we have in the under-16s. One of the key things in our strategy, in all ages, is to try to bring in the best talent in the world.

    "We start with English players, but then at 16 we can bring some talent in from Europe, so they have to compete with the English talent. Then when they are 18, we can bring players in from all over the world.

    "I have to work for the next two seasons. You see the squad - who is coming down, who is coming up, which positions. We have very good people but you have to be ready.

    "Some of the young players can get unbelievable offers from other clubs. You have to understand who wants to move, who wants to stay and what the risk is of losing players.

    "You always have to be working on new talent coming. See the market - who is finishing his contract, who is not.

    "There are three months [in the transfer window] that are unbelievable. Everyone is working, trying to find new talent."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45344917


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  7. #7
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    Manchester City and their sponsors manipulated contracts to circumvent Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations, according to Der Spiegel.

    The German news magazine claims it has seen internal documents which show that City officials discussed how to wipe out a £9.9m shortfall in 2013.

    Der Spiegel also reports that City owner Sheikh Mansour provided monetary supplements to existing deals with sponsors in Abu Dhabi, where he is part of the royal family, to invest more money into the club.

    City say they will not be commenting on the claims, which come after initial allegations about the club and FFP were published by the magazine on Friday.

    La Liga president Javier Tebas made a similar claim last year, with European football's governing body Uefa responding by saying it was not investigating City, who have won the Premier League three times since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008.

    Uefa found City had breached FFP rules in 2014 and the two parties reached a settlement, with City paying a £49m fine - £32m of which was suspended - while their Champions League squad was reduced for 2014-15.

    Der Spiegel calls the settlements "weak" and claims Uefa "wasn't even entirely aware of the degree to which it had been deceived".

    Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini with the FA Cup in 2011
    City won the 2011 FA Cup under Mancini - but he was sacked three days after they lost the 2013 final
    Italian manager Roberto Mancini was sacked in 2013, just after City had failed to defend their first Premier League title and lost the FA Cup final.

    Der Spiegel reports that, in an internal email, City's chief financial officer Jorge Chumillas wrote: "We will have a shortfall of £9.9m in order to comply with Uefa FFP this season. The deficit is due to RM termination. I think that the only solution left would be an additional amount of AD sponsorship revenues that covers this gap."

    The email also allegedly presented details of the contracts that would be adjusted, with Der Spiegel claiming that Etihad, Aabar and the Abu Dhabi tourism authority all paid more than had been agreed at the beginning of 2012-13.

    Der Spiegel quoted another internal email, sent by club executive Simon Pearce in April 2010, regarding an annual £15m deal with investment company Aabar.

    It read: "As we discussed, the annual direct obligation for Aabar is £3million. The remaining £12m will come from alternative sources provided by His Highness."

    City representatives have said the Abu Dhabi-based companies are independent sponsors.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/4...source=twitter


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  8. #8
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    Superb today against Manchester United.

    So good to watch, so many options. If one or two of their players are having a bad day, then others raise their game.

    It'll take an awesome effort to beat Man City to the title.



  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    I'm not a big fan of the Premier League these days but I always try to watch Man City if they are on tv.



  11. #11
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    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he has been assured by senior figures at the club that they will not be banned from European competition for Financial Fair Play irregularities.

    A series of allegations were made in Der Spiegel last month after what City said were "leaks" and an "organised attempt" to smear the club were passed on by the Football Leaks organisation.

    Reports this week suggested the claims could lead to City being banned should Uefa decide to take action, and a senior figure in European football told the BBC the entire credibility of FFP is at risk if Europe's governing body and the Premier League do not fully investigate the allegations.

    However, after speaking to City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and chief executive Ferran Soriano, Guardiola does not think the club have anything to fear.

    "We will not be banned, no," he said.

    "That's what I think because of what my chairman and my CEO have explained to me and I trust in them.

    "If it happens, because Uefa decide that, we will accept it and move forward."

    Across four days of allegations in Der Spiegel, City were accused of using owner Sheikh Mansour's own money to inflate sponsorship deals, using a third party, Fordham Sports Management, to offload image rights in order to reduce their wage bill, and, in the case of former manager Roberto Mancini, paying him more for his role as a consultant to Abu Dhabi club Al Jazira than he was getting from City as manager, excluding bonuses and incentives.

    The European football source, who did not wish to be identified, said the fact the allegations came via the Football Leaks organisation and, according to City, were "purportedly hacked or stolen" should not prevent a thorough investigation to discover whether historical allegations are true and, as importantly, if breaches are being committed.

    "Uefa and the Premier League have got to ask all the questions," said the source. "They cannot make it easy otherwise credibility in the whole system will be lost."

    City were fined £49m for FFP breaches by Uefa in 2014 but were refunded £33.4m three years later after meeting the requirements of those initial sanctions.

    In an exclusive interview with the BBC earlier this month, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said FFP rules needed to be more "robust" and admitted they were "weak" in certain areas.

    The source said they accepted getting hold of all the relevant documentation would not be straightforward but that it should not be a deterrent to doing everything possible to establish the full facts.

    Uefa has said it would reopen FFP investigations on a case-by-case basis if there was evidence of "abuse".



    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46490230


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  12. #12
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    Awful result today for City.

    The heat is on.

    I feel Pep is making too many changes to the team every week.



  13. #13
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    I think, the Palace result was timed perfectly - just before January window. Now, Pep can ask for another quarter billion - another CB, a DM, a winger and may be a false 9 as well, and yes 3rd GK. And, this guy allowed to leave Sancho!!!!

    I feel, Pep is caught in his own trap - this is his squad:

    GK: Ederson, Bravo
    RB: Walker, Danilo
    LB: Mendy
    CB: Kompany, Stones, Laporte, Mangala, Otamendi
    Mid Field: Gundogan, KDB, D Silva, Fardinandinho, Delph, Zinchenko; Foden & Diaz
    Wingers: Mahrez, Starling, Sane, B Sliva
    CF: Aguero, Jesus

    Most of these players are coming from top National teams and if they don't start in League games, almost certainly they'll lose their National spot; therefore Pep is forced to rotate squad and keep everyone happy.

    This is a brilliant lesson from the best - SAF. His MU used to fight for 5 trophies every year and played over 70 games a season. Also, most of his squad were starters for National team, hence they used to play additional 10-12 International games - add to that air miles. So, SAF had a sweet problem - he had to maintain a strong, robust & healthy squad, at the same time he had to manage a happy squad.

    He had all the money to spree, and I don't think any player ever would have declined SAF/MU had he really went for him desperately - but, SAF didn't go crazy. He found a brilliant solution - his match day 14 were the best players in world for his system, coming from top soccer nations, and he was never shy to spend top dollars for those players. But, after that he didn't hire top players from established International soccer giants for his bench, rather he used to look for brilliant individuals from weak soccer nations - players who were individually brilliant, perfect for his system and players who where certain to start for their national team, even semi fit or sitting whole year on MU bench.

    Players like (no insult) Yorke, Bosnich, Johnsen, Ole Gunner, Berg, Giggs (brilliant, but from Wales), Quintin Fortune, Roy Carroll, Darren Fletcher, Denis Irwin, Park Sung, O'shea, Howard, D'jemba were his back-up squad for years and he'll always have several local English fringe players - players who were fan of ManU, but not good enough to be ambitious for an England cap, but proud to wear MU badge.... no wonder, he ran every team crazy in last 10-12 weeks of EPL and last 10-12 minutes in every game, because he had a fit, happy and motivated squad to run for the extra yards, and they were winning to keep that motivation high. He was a master of rotating his squad - there is a rule that one has to play at least 10 games to receive a winners medal (of EPL), and at average his squad took 29-30 medals every year, because he'll give most of his players at least 10 games.

    What Pep is doing is playing FIFA Soccer Manager at Sheikh Mansoor's credit .... most of his squads are too self obsessed, often striving for game time and they are hired guns, not SAF's desperate worriers. His squad is so good that, even at 60% efficiency, they should win 100+ points in every season, but lots of unhappy soul there, and lots of greedy souls who at their prime opted to enjoy lots of Mansoor's money for warming bench.

    I still back ManCity to win EPL, still 20 games left and so far LFC had been extremely lucky on fitness grounds - no key player has been out for long for such a slim squad where one Milner has so far played in 4-5 positions including LB, RB & CB ... last was right winger. I don't see us keeping this tempo going with that sort of high octane game for a squad where 7-8 players are starting almost every game. In last 6-7 years almost every time Team leading table at X-mas has gone to win the EPL, only team failing to that was FSG's Liverpool. Even if we win at Ettihad on new years' fixture, I won't back LFC to win EPL - may be 4 points with 10, max 12 games to go and we are out of FA Cup, may be CL as well; then it can happen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMHS View Post
    I think, the Palace result was timed perfectly - just before January window. Now, Pep can ask for another quarter billion - another CB, a DM, a winger and may be a false 9 as well, and yes 3rd GK. And, this guy allowed to leave Sancho!!!!

    I feel, Pep is caught in his own trap - this is his squad:

    GK: Ederson, Bravo
    RB: Walker, Danilo
    LB: Mendy
    CB: Kompany, Stones, Laporte, Mangala, Otamendi
    Mid Field: Gundogan, KDB, D Silva, Fardinandinho, Delph, Zinchenko; Foden & Diaz
    Wingers: Mahrez, Starling, Sane, B Sliva
    CF: Aguero, Jesus

    Most of these players are coming from top National teams and if they don't start in League games, almost certainly they'll lose their National spot; therefore Pep is forced to rotate squad and keep everyone happy.

    This is a brilliant lesson from the best - SAF. His MU used to fight for 5 trophies every year and played over 70 games a season. Also, most of his squad were starters for National team, hence they used to play additional 10-12 International games - add to that air miles. So, SAF had a sweet problem - he had to maintain a strong, robust & healthy squad, at the same time he had to manage a happy squad.

    He had all the money to spree, and I don't think any player ever would have declined SAF/MU had he really went for him desperately - but, SAF didn't go crazy. He found a brilliant solution - his match day 14 were the best players in world for his system, coming from top soccer nations, and he was never shy to spend top dollars for those players. But, after that he didn't hire top players from established International soccer giants for his bench, rather he used to look for brilliant individuals from weak soccer nations - players who were individually brilliant, perfect for his system and players who where certain to start for their national team, even semi fit or sitting whole year on MU bench.

    Players like (no insult) Yorke, Bosnich, Johnsen, Ole Gunner, Berg, Giggs (brilliant, but from Wales), Quintin Fortune, Roy Carroll, Darren Fletcher, Denis Irwin, Park Sung, O'shea, Howard, D'jemba were his back-up squad for years and he'll always have several local English fringe players - players who were fan of ManU, but not good enough to be ambitious for an England cap, but proud to wear MU badge.... no wonder, he ran every team crazy in last 10-12 weeks of EPL and last 10-12 minutes in every game, because he had a fit, happy and motivated squad to run for the extra yards, and they were winning to keep that motivation high. He was a master of rotating his squad - there is a rule that one has to play at least 10 games to receive a winners medal (of EPL), and at average his squad took 29-30 medals every year, because he'll give most of his players at least 10 games.

    What Pep is doing is playing FIFA Soccer Manager at Sheikh Mansoor's credit .... most of his squads are too self obsessed, often striving for game time and they are hired guns, not SAF's desperate worriers. His squad is so good that, even at 60% efficiency, they should win 100+ points in every season, but lots of unhappy soul there, and lots of greedy souls who at their prime opted to enjoy lots of Mansoor's money for warming bench.

    I still back ManCity to win EPL, still 20 games left and so far LFC had been extremely lucky on fitness grounds - no key player has been out for long for such a slim squad where one Milner has so far played in 4-5 positions including LB, RB & CB ... last was right winger. I don't see us keeping this tempo going with that sort of high octane game for a squad where 7-8 players are starting almost every game. In last 6-7 years almost every time Team leading table at X-mas has gone to win the EPL, only team failing to that was FSG's Liverpool. Even if we win at Ettihad on new years' fixture, I won't back LFC to win EPL - may be 4 points with 10, max 12 games to go and we are out of FA Cup, may be CL as well; then it can happen.
    I think also that Pep's philosophy and playing style is not conducive to rotation even if the whole squad is tailored and trained to play that way. The short passing triangles and patterns of play need a consistent plying XI to familiarize themselves with the system.

  15. #15
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    Not signing cover for Fernandiinho and Mendy was a big mistake by City.

  16. #16
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    Irresistible Manchester City scored nine goals as they thrashed Burton Albion with an incredible display of attacking football in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Etihad Stadium.

    Gabriel Jesus scored four, with Kevin de Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also scoring against Nigel Clough's beleaguered League One side.

    Headers from De Bruyne and Jesus made it 2-0, the Brazilian tapped in a third and Zinchenko's curler put City four up.

    Jesus added two more headers, with Foden, Walker and Mahrez scoring further goals.

    This was the first time in more than 31 years that City had scored more than eight goals in a single match - they beat Huddersfield Town 10-1 in a second-tier league encounter in November 1987.

    It means City have scored 16 goals in four days after thrashing Rotherham United 7-0 in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

    The second leg, merely a formality, takes place at the Pirelli Stadium on Wednesday, 23 January, with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 24 February.

    City, the Carabao Cup holders, are set to meet either Tottenham or Chelsea in the final, with Spurs leading 1-0 after Harry Kane's penalty gave them a first-leg victory at Wembley on Tuesday.

    Hours stuck on the M6 to witness a 9-0 loss... if they even got there - Burton fans' night to forget
    'Of course we're in the final' - Guardiola on 9-0 first-leg win
    Relive Manchester City's win over Burton Albion as it happened
    City kill the tie off in 37 minutes
    Before the game, Guardiola called the tournament "a more local competition" and said "everybody is happy to win but no-one is sad to go out".

    However, the Spaniard still named a strong team that included De Bruyne, Silva, Mahrez, Sane and Jesus, with starts for 20-year-old goalkeeper Aro Muric and Spanish centre-half Eric Garcia, on his 18th birthday.

    It only took them five minutes to break through with De Bruyne's header, and Sane almost added a second but fired into the side netting.

    But three goals in a seven-minute spell in the first half took the tie away from Nigel Clough's side.

    Gabriel Jesus
    Manchester City have won the League Cup five times in their history
    Jesus got his first with a header after Sane's effort had been parried by goalkeeper Brad Collins, and the Brazilian tapped in from Sane's cross to make it 3-0, with the goal given after a video assistant referee check to see if he had been onside, which he was.

    Zinchenko got his first City goal when he looped the ball over Collins from the edge of the penalty area, with Mahrez denied a fifth when the Burton goalkeeper tipped over his effort.

    City did not let up after the break as Jesus completed his hat-trick when he headed in from Silva's cross, and the sixth goal was scored by Foden, following up after Collins had denied Jesus.

    But the Brazilian grabbed his fourth of the game three minutes later, with a tap-in from Sane's low delivery.

    Walker made it 8-0 with a side-footed finish and Silva hit the outside of the post, although the ninth was not far away as Mahrez bundled in another goal.

    City had a chance to get a 10th but Zinchenko's header was saved on the line by Collins.

    City have won this competition in three of the past five years and their 2018 success was Guardiola's first trophy in English football. With City playing eight matches in a hectic January, Guardiola will now have the luxury of resting some players for the second leg.

    Burton - ninth in League One, 51 places below City - were playing in their first major cup semi-final, and around 3,000 of their supporters had tickets for the match at Etihad Stadium.

    However, numerous traffic incidents caused tailbacks on the M6 with only one of their 31 fan coaches at the ground an hour before kick-off.

    Some of their fans had still not taken their seats when De Bruyne's header put the hosts in front, but the away fans should have been celebrating an equaliser seven minutes later, although Marcus Harness could only shoot over when unmarked 12 yards from goal.

    After that miss, Burton were outclassed by a ruthless City side. Clough's side still created chances, though, and Scott Fraser had an effort saved by Muric and shot just over early in the second half as the Brewers fans were denied the goal they wanted.

    Burton had beaten five teams to reach this stage - including Premier League Burnley and Championship sides Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough - but were powerless to stop a rampant City outfit.

    Man of the match - Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
    Gabriel Jesus
    Gabriel Jesus has scored 12 goals for Manchester City this season, including five in the Carabao Cup
    'Quality breeds quality' - analysis
    Dion Dublin, former Aston Villa striker on BBC Radio 5 live

    When you have got so much quality pushing quality, you are going to get better performances. Pep Guardiola knows he is going to push Liverpool all the way in the Premier League title race, and this performance shows that he has players fighting for those shirts.

    It doesn't matter to a centre-forward about the opposition. When the ball leaves any part of your body and goes into the back of the net, that is the feeling you work so hard for. Tonight will give Gabriel Jesus a lot of confidence.

    Guardiola's joint-biggest win ever - the stats

    Manchester City have won 13 of their past 15 League Cup matches against sides from a lower division (drawing two), scoring 50 goals.
    City are the first side in the top four tiers of English football to score at least seven goals in back-to-back matches in all competitions since Leeds United did so back in October 1967 (9-0 v Spora Luxembourg in the Fairs Cup and 7-0 v Chelsea in the top flight).

    Manchester City have scored eight goals in a single match in any competition for the first time since November 1987, when they beat Huddersfield 10-1 in a second-tier encounter.

    Their 9-0 victory is Pep Guardiola's joint-largest margin of victory as a manager, alongside Barcelona's 9-0 thrashing of L'Hospitalet during a Copa del Rey match in December 2011.

    Since his League Cup debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Kevin de Bruyne has scored more goals in the competition than any other player (nine).

    Gabriel Jesus has now scored two hat-tricks at Etihad Stadium; only Carlos Tevez (four) and Sergio Aguero (10) have managed more home trebles for Manchester City since their move away from Maine Road.

    Gabriel Jesus (12) has reached double figures for goals scored in all competitions for the second successive season after netting 17 times in 2017-18 - only Sergio Aguero (14) has netted more than the Brazilian for Manchester City in 2018-19.
    'Never scored four before' - what they said

    Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus on Sky Sports: "I have never scored four before in my career; I am so happy for this. We played very well and with respect, that's important.

    "Players like me want to play more, to help the team, and we went out there to win."

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "The result was good and of course we are already in the final but we have to play the second leg. We will take it seriously. Burton have had an incredible tournament. They have to be so proud, they did so well.

    "Strikers need to score goals, Gabriel Jesus has had chances in the last few games and today he has scored. He is so important.

    "It is not easy to play this type of game against a lower team. We made good runs in behind and we took it seriously. After the second and third goal it was easier, we were faster and quicker.

    "I am off for a glass of wine with Nigel Clough. I know how important his father was for English football, he was a genius. Incredible. It will be a pleasure to share some minutes with him."

    Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough: "We didn't expect anything less with the gulf between the two teams. We thought it could have been more. We didn't too much wrong. With two or three of the goals we could have done more but we didn't do too badly."

    "We have made history in getting this far. It wasn't about tonight, it was about the achievement of getting here. We kept going right to the end, they [the fans] were shouting 'we want 10' and we stopped them, that's a positive for us. Some of the youngsters have had an experience that you can't buy.

    "It's not nice when the goals are going in and you can do nothing to stop it. Pep said 'come in for a glass of wine' and I hope he's got more than a glass. They are capable of doing that to Premier League teams."

    What's next?
    Manchester City return to Premier League action on Monday, 14 January at home to Wolves (20:00 GMT) and then face Huddersfield away on the following Sunday, before the second leg against on 23 January.

    For Burton, they have a home match in League One with Gillingham on Saturday and an away game at Doncaster the following week before facing Guardiola's side again.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46732982


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  17. #17
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    Manchester City eased past managerless Huddersfield to move back to four points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

    David Wagner left the Terriers by mutual consent on Monday with the club bottom of the league, leaving coach Mark Hudson temporarily in charge.

    City, who had netted 19 goals in their past three games, were not at their free-scoring best in the first half at the John Smith's Stadium.

    But the defending champions went ahead in the 18th minute when Danilo's long-range effort deflected in off the head of Christopher Schindler.

    The visitors then struck twice in two minutes after the break to put the game to bed, with Leroy Sane creating the first and scoring the second.

    First, the Germany forward whipped in a cross for Raheem Sterling to dive and head in his 12th goal of the season.

    Then Sergio Aguero cushioned a header for Sane to run on to and finish past Jonas Lossl.

    It was not a vintage display by Pep Guardiola's side but they remain in title contention.

    Borussia Dortmund coach Jan Siewert has been approached by Huddersfield for the vacant job, but he will face a mammoth task to keep them in the top flight if he takes over.

    This was their ninth defeat in 10 league games and the result leaves the Terriers bottom of the table and 10 points from safety.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46853937


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  18. #18
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    Sergio Aguero was Manchester City's hat-trick hero again as they returned to the top of the Premier League in scintillating style by outclassing Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.

    Liverpool's win against Bournemouth meant Pep Guardiola's side needed victory to return to the summit, albeit having played one game more.

    And their job was done after a sensational opening burst brought four goals in the first 25 minutes as Chelsea were left bedraggled, humiliated and on the receiving end of their worst defeat since they lost 7-0 at Nottingham Forest in April 1991.

    The rout started after four minutes when Chelsea were caught napping by Kevin De Bruyne's quick free-kick which left Raheem Sterling to fire in at the far post before Aguero, who had already missed an open goal, curled a magnificent right-foot finish past the stretching Kepa Arrizabalaga from 25 yards.

    Chelsea's embarrassment was symbolised by Ross Barkley's inexplicable header straight to the feet of Aguero to poach his second and Ilkay Gundogan capped that early blitz with a low drive.

    Aguero completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after 56 minutes following Cesar Azpilicueta's foul on Sterling, his 15th treble for City and a record-equalling 11th in the Premier League, an honour he shares with Alan Shearer. It was also his second in successive home games after his hat-trick in the 3-1 win against Arsenal.

    Sterling then piled on the agony for Chelsea with the sixth, turned in from six yards after David Silva's threaded pass released Oleksandr Zinchenko down the left.

    Most Premier League hat-tricks

    11 Sergio Aguero, Alan Shearer
    9 Robbie Fowler
    8 Michael Owen, Harry Kane, Thierry Henry
    7 Wayne Rooney
    6 Luis Suarez

    Man City's perfect response
    If Liverpool answered questions with their win over Bournemouth, City's response here - and in the last week - has been even more emphatic.

    Guardiola's reigning champions faced a key week after their shock loss at Newcastle United with potentially hazardous home games against Arsenal and Chelsea, and a re-arranged trip to Everton.

    City made light of any dangers, breezing past Arsenal and overcoming stubborn Everton before wiping out Chelsea with a performance that occasionally touched perfection, especially in the opening phase.

    Liverpool still have a game in hand but City have made up most of that lost ground and this was a resounding message that they will not be handing over the title.

    Chelsea, one of the teams to conquer City this season, were dismissed with the minimum of fuss and the momentum City appeared to have lost on Tyneside is back in the most rampant fashion.

    And, into the bargain, they have given a huge boost to what may yet be a decisive goal difference equation.

    If Maurizio Sarri thought his lowest point had come with the second-half capitulation in the 4-0 loss at Bournemouth, the Chelsea boss must now be revising his opinion.

    Chelsea may not have regarded themselves as title rivals to City over the whole season but this was a harrowing illustration of the current chasm between the two sides and made for disturbing viewing for the Italian.

    Sarri's approach has not carried Chelsea forward in recent weeks and the concern for him will be that owner Roman Abramovich will not like the look of this performance or the margin of defeat - and perhaps more significantly the fact they are now sixth and in danger of not making the top four and Champions League qualification.

    Chelsea's performance was characterised by the defensive mess and complete switch off for the opening goal and the hapless Barkley's header straight to Aguero for City's third.

    N'Golo Kante is wasted anywhere other than as arguably the world's finest holding midfielder while Jorginho (who ended up choosing Chelsea rather than City) is a player whose influence decreases by the week.

    Eden Hazard was tireless and Gonzalo Higuain was willing to shoot on sight - but they were dreadfully served in a Chelsea performance which was a complete mess.

    A mess that will greatly worry Sarri and Abramovich.

    Man of the match - Sergio Aguero

    Sergio Aguero continues to set records and he walked off with the match ball. He could have had more, hitting the bar with a header in the second half and missing a glaring chance early on. His work rate was obvious, completing 10 high-intensity sprints in the 65 minutes he was on the pitch. Only four players bettered the figure, all of whom played the entire match.

    Sergio Aguero continues to set records and he walked off with the match ball. He could have had more, hitting the bar with a header in the second half and missing a glaring chance early on. His work rate was obvious, completing 10 high-intensity sprints in the 65 minutes he was on the pitch. Only four players bettered the figure, all of whom played the entire match.

    'All I can do is apologise' - What they said...
    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "To score six against Chelsea and the way we played, we had so much attention. We did it, it's an incredible compliment to the players, they are outstanding.

    "We spoke this morning, we trained set pieces, trained some movements and I never thought we would score this amount of goals."

    Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta: "It is one of the worst nights in my career. It is difficult to explain what happened.

    "The first five or six minutes went well but that is not enough. We are conceding a lot of goals and we cannot accept that.

    "All I can do is apologise to the fans because it is not acceptable."

    Chelsea's unwanted records - Key stats

    Sergio Aguero has scored eight Premier League goals for Man City in 2019 - double that of any other player in the competition and more than 11 other Premier League clubs have managed, including Chelsea (seven).

    Chelsea conceded four goals in consecutive away top-flight matches for the first time since December 1990.

    Only Fulham (15) have conceded more Premier League goals during 2019 than Chelsea (13).

    Manchester City became the first top-flight team since Tottenham Hotspur in December 1965 to score more than once in 15 consecutive home league matches.

    Up next?
    Chelsea travel to Swedish side Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday (20:00 GMT), while Manchester City turn their attention to Newport County in an FA Cup tie next Saturday (17:30 GMT).

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/47106070


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  19. #19
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    Kevin de Bruyne: Man City midfielder has hamstring injury, says Guardiola

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Kevin de Bruyne will be out "for a while" with a hamstring injury.

    Midfielder De Bruyne was forced off during the first half of City's win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

    "Kevin will be out for a while with a muscular problem - hamstring," said Guardiola.

    Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal as the champions went two points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

    John Stones also came off with an injury at the start of the second half but Guardiola said it was not serious.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/47430245


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  20. #20
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    UEFA investigating Man City over FFP

    investigation over a potential breach of Financial Fair Play regulations.

    European football's governing body announced on Thursday they have opened a formal investigation into the Premier League champions' financial conduct amid a number of alleged recently-reported violations.

    A UEFA statement read: "UEFA Club Financial Control Body opens investigation into Manchester City for alleged Financial Fair Play violations.

    "The Investigatory Chamber of the independent UEFA Club Financial Control Body has today opened a formal investigation into Manchester City FC for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

    "The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets.

    "UEFA will make no further comments on the matter while the investigation is ongoing."

    https://www.skysports.com/football/n...ir-play-breach
    Last edited by shaaik; 7th March 2019 at 23:18.

  21. #21
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  22. #22
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    Manchester City are set to offer millions of pounds in compensation to victims of historical child sexual abuse.

    A club redress scheme will see survivors of the most serious crimes receive six-figure sums in damages.

    Those abused will also receive a personal apology from a senior club official.

    City know of 40 potential claimants to their compensation fund but they are braced for more cases.

    Last year, former youth coach Barry Bennell was convicted of 43 charges relating to 12 former junior players between 1979 and 1990 during his time working for City and Crewe Alexandra.

    One of the country's most prolific paedophiles, Bennell was jailed for 31 years. It was his fourth conviction for abusing boys.

    Another 86 people have since come forward to make complaints of abuse against him.

    More than three-quarters of the claims City are aware of relate to Bennell, with nine more making allegations against a second man from the club's youth set-up in the 1960s - John Broome. He is now dead and no links with Bennell have been established.

    Victims have been told the scheme - thought to be unprecedented in British sport - may be a preferable alternative to pursuing a civil claim through the courts, and should be processed within six to seven weeks. They will also receive a face-to-face apology from a senior club official.

    City launched an independent inquiry into one of the most serious scandals in English football history in November 2016 after former professional footballer Andy Woodward revealed he had been abused by Bennell, and encouraged others to come forward.

    The review - led by QC Jane Mulcahy - is yet to conclude, but it is understood the club believe victims should not be made to wait for compensation.

    The club confirmed the scheme in a statement on Tuesday.

    "The club's review remains ongoing and Manchester City FC continues to be restricted as to what it can make public at present for legal reasons," it read.

    "The club reiterates, however, its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences that they endured.

    "All victims were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they suffered as a result of their sexual abuse as children."

    Three victims of Bennell sued City in 2016 and the club has faced claims officials at the time missed opportunities to stop him during the seven years he was linked with them as a scout and managed local junior teams associated with the club.

    Gary Cliffe, one of Bennell's victims, said: "They let us down, they didn't challenge him. They knew who he was and they allowed it to continue because he was producing results."

    Former City youth coach Steve Fleet told the BBC he first heard rumours about Bennell in the late 1970s. However, the club told Channel 4 in 1997 that they never received a formal complaint about him.

    Manchester City's survivors' scheme will enable victims to apply for compensation for general damages, potential loss of earnings if their careers have been affected, therapy fees and legal costs.

    The scheme is being run by legal firm Pinsent Masons and QC Frances Oldham will act as an independent adjudicator.

    The scheme will be kept open for victims who prefer to consider pursuing a civil claim, and there will be no confidentiality clause in settlements. In 2016, Chelsea FC apologised to former player Gary Johnson after it emerged they had paid him £50,000 to keep quiet about allegations of sex abuse by a former chief scout.

    City's approach contrasts with that of Crewe Alexandra, the other club most seriously implicated in the Bennell scandal.

    Last month, their former player Steve Walters vowed to take the League Two club to court after he said they told him he had waited too long to report abuse by Bennell. The 47-year-old had hoped he could reach a settlement with the club but believes Crewe tried to deny liability on a technicality. The club declined to comment.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/47532719


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  23. #23
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    Sergio Aguero: Pep Guardiola hopes Man City forward not badly injured

    Sergio Aguero has scored 14 goals in his past 14 appearances for Manchester City
    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero asked to be substituted during the 2-0 win at Fulham - but he hopes his top scorer is not badly hurt.

    Aguero set up Bernardo Silva's opener before scoring his 19th goal of the season as City leapfrogged Liverpool to move top of the Premier League.

    But the Argentina forward was then withdrawn early in the second half.

    "He says he felt something, but hopefully he's not injured," said Guardiola after Saturday's match.

    "He decided on not continuing. Hopefully it will not be a big issue. We will see tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow."

    The victory at Craven Cottage was City's 11th in 12 games and they are still on course to for a historic quadruple, having already won the Carabao Cup this term.

    Guardiola's side are a point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the league with seven games to play. They face Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and Brighton in the FA Cup semi-finals.

    The Spaniard said: "Seven games left for the Premier League, and it's easy: we have to win every game to be champions.

    "We have a tough, tough opponent - but that's the challenge.

    "It was a tricky game for us after the international break, but the way we started was amazing. The players surprised me again.

    "We showed how focused we are to try to do our best."

    Guardiola praises Man City's 'incredible' start in Fulham win

    Meanwhile, caretaker manager Scott Parker is the first Fulham boss to lose his first four Premier League games in charge and the Cottagers - who are 16 points from safety with six matches left - will be relegated if they at Watford on Tuesday (19:45 BST kick-off).

    Parker said: "While it's still mathematically possible we won't give up, but I'm a realist and we all understand the predicament ahead.

    "The main thing now is to push and end the season on a positive.

    "I'm not thinking about myself, I'm thinking about getting some results and some credibility really."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/47761176
    Last edited by shaaik; 30th March 2019 at 23:47.

  24. #24
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    City’s dream ends in a dramatic way!

  25. #25
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    Dream is over. Sadly it will mean they'll go through brick walls to win the league now. Was a brilliant match going end to end. Remember, Spurs were without Keane where as City we a bit unlucky with that offside ruling.Yes it was offside for sure.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

  26. #26
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    Unlucky city. Need to go all out for 5 league games now!


    If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got #improve

  27. #27
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    another loss on saturday coming up

  28. #28
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    https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/26/...le-fernandinho

    (Reuters) - Defending champions Manchester City have shown they can compete like "animals" this season in a bid to retain their Premier League title, midfielder Fernandinho has said.

    City restored their one-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table after Wednesday's 2-0 win at Manchester United and can become the first team to retain the Premier League title since the Old Trafford club in 2009.

    Victory in the final three games of the season will ensure a fourth league crown in eight years and Fernandinho said City's display at United showed how determined they were to succeed.

    "We showed the desire in competing for every ball like animals. I think this is the spirit of a team that wants to be champions," Fernandinho told reporters.

    Liverpool, who are looking to end a 29-year drought for an English league title, were seven points ahead of City in January before Pep Guardiola's side handed them their only defeat of the season to reduce the deficit.

    City have displayed ruthless form since, winning their last 11 league games, and Brazil international Fernandinho believes that the title race will go down to the wire.

    "If you look back to January, they could have been 10 points clear after our game. We didn't want that. We reduced the gap to four points and now we're one point up," he said.

    "That's the way the Premier League is going to be decided and I hope we can do our job and win those three games, and be champions again."

    City are at Burnley on Sunday and finish their season with games against Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion.

    "Burnley are always difficult. They have a specific way to play and it's not easy to go there. They drew with Chelsea last Monday," added Fernandinho, who is a doubt for the game with a knee injury.

    "We have to recover as soon as possible and try to be fit and be ready. It's going to be a very important, very difficult game for us."


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  29. #29
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    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted he was urging Vincent Kompany not to shoot as he lined up his brilliant winner against Leicester.

    The City captain's long-range strike gave his side a 1-0 win, meaning they will retain their Premier League title if they beat Brighton on Sunday.

    Belgian defender Kompany's goal was his first from outside the penalty area for City after 11 years with the club.

    "I said, 'No shoot Vinnie, no shoot!'" said Guardiola.

    And Kompany revealed the City boss had not been the only person doubting him before he let fly.

    "I could hear people saying 'don't shoot, don't shoot! But I've not come this far in my career to have young players tell me when to shoot," said Kompany.

    Guardiola added that he plans to speak to Kompany about his future at the end of the season, with 33-year-old's contract set to expire.

    "We are going to take a beer together and decide what is best, especially for the club," he said.

    "He is an incredible human being and he helps me a lot. I always said I could not use him a lot, but this club is what it is because of people like Vincent.

    "When he is fit he is an incredible centre-back. He is a real defender, he is a leader many times."

    City had come closest to scoring before Kompany's winner, Sergio Aguero heading against the bar and being denied by a super Kasper Schmeichel save either side of the break.

    "We controlled the game, we were much better than the opponents," added Guardiola. "Sometimes you need a goal like Vinnie today."

    The result leaves City one point ahead of Liverpool with one game to play, and it also ended Leicester's hopes of finishing seventh and possibly taking a place in next season's Europa League.

    "We pushed City, arguably the best team in Europe, right to the very end," said Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers.

    "City and Liverpool are marvellous teams. It's exciting, it goes to the last game and there is still work to do for both teams."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48179299


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  30. #30
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    Uefa investigators want Manchester City to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking financial rules.

    However, according to one well-placed source, a final decision is yet to be made by chief investigator Yves Leterme.

    The former Belgian prime minister, chairman of the investigatory panel of Uefa's independent financial control board, is set to make a recommendation this week.

    With no vote in such cases, the final say lies with him but several of his colleagues are understood to have firmly expressed the view at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if City are found guilty.

    Leterme and his team have been looking at evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel last year.

    The reports alleged that Manchester City had broken Financial Fair Play regulations by inflating the value of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal. City were fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.

    The Premier League champions denied any wrongdoing, and Uefa said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation, but according to the New York Times, investigators now want rules upheld and City punished with a ban.

    Uefa's adjudicatory chamber would have to decide whether it agreed with any recommendation from Leterme - expected in the next 48 hours - although it is unlikely to apply to next season's competition because City could appeal, and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    But it would still be a major blow for a club desperate to win Europe's most prestigious club competition for the first time, and who could also soon face a transfer ban, with the FA, Premier League and Fifa also currently investigating City over their signing of youth players.

    A statement from Manchester City said: "Manchester City FC is fully cooperating in good faith with the CFCB IC's [Club Financial Control Body Investigatory Chamber] ongoing investigation.

    "In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC's independence and commitment to due process; and on Uefa's commitment of the 7 March that it 'will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing'.

    "The New York Times report citing 'people familiar with the case' is therefore extremely concerning.

    "The implications are that either Manchester City's good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the club's reputation and its commercial interests. Or both.

    "Manchester City's published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC."

    Financial Fair Play was introduced by Uefa to prevent clubs in its competitions from spending beyond their means and stamp out what its then president Michel Platini called "financial doping" within football.

    Under the rules, financial losses are limited and clubs are also obliged to meet all their transfer and employee payment commitments at all times.

    Clubs need to balance football-related expenditure - transfers and wages - with television and ticket income, plus revenues raised by their commercial departments. Money spent on stadiums, training facilities, youth development or community projects is exempt.

    The Club Financial Control Body, set up by Uefa, has the ultimate sanction of banning clubs from Uefa competitions, with other potential punishments including warnings, fines, withholding prize money, transfer bans, points deductions, a ban on registration of new players and a restriction on the number of players who can be registered for Uefa competitions.

    Has anyone been punished before?
    In 2014, Qatar-owned Paris St-Germain received a similar financial punishment to the one City received.

    PSG were deemed to have breached FFP rules when the CFCB decided their back-dated £167m sponsorship contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority, which wiped out their losses, had an unfair value.

    That meant the French side exceeded allowed financial losses by a wide margin when, under FFP rules, clubs were limited to losses of £37m over the previous two years.

    They received a fine, a spending cap and were only allowed to register 21 players for the Champions League for a season.

    PSG also remain under investigation for their 2017-18 finances when they signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world record £222m euros (£200m) and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, initially on loan, for 180m euros (£165.7m).

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48265079


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  31. #31
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    Man City: Champions League ban moves one step closer as Uefa refer club over potential FFP breach

    Manchester City have been referred to Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chamber for judgement on whether they will face a Champions League ban or not over potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP).

    Uefa announced on Thursday morning that the CFCB has decided to press on with potential disciplinary action against the recently-crowned Premier League champions, who have denied all allegations of financial irregularities.

    The body’s chief investigator, Yves Leterme, has passed on his recommendation to the adjudicatory chamber, but the statement did not confirm if he has suggested a Champions League ban for City.

    But City have vowed to fight their case regardless of Leterme’s recommendation after vehemently denying allegations of wrongdoing, adding that they believe Uefa’s investigation includes “mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process.”

    In a statement released on Thursday, Uefa said: “The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) chief investigator, after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber of the CFCB, has today decided to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation.

    “The CFCB investigatory chamber had opened an investigation into Manchester City FC on 7 March 2019 for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations that were made public in various media outlets.

    “Uefa will not be making any further comment on the matter until a decision is announced by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber.”

    Manchester City immediately released a statement to claim it was “not surprised” by the ruling, given that the news had been leaked earlier in the week much to the anger of the Premier League club.

    A Manchester City statement read: “Manchester City Football Club is disappointed, but regrettably not surprised, by the sudden announcement of the referral to be made by the CFCB IC Chief Investigator Yves Leterme.

    “The leaks to media over the last week are indicative of the process that has been overseen by Mr. Leterme.

    “Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.

    “The accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false and the CFCB IC referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City FC to the Chamber.

    “The decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process and there remain significant unresolved matters raised by Manchester City FC as part of what the club has found to be a wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed, and hostile process.”

    City were fined £49m by Uefa in 2014 and hit with transfer spending and Champions League squad restrictions due to FFP breaches, which the club accepted, but the latest investigation was triggered by allegations made in German publication Der Spiegel last year.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...-a8916181.html


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  32. #32
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    Manchester City say they are "disappointed, but regrettably not surprised" after being referred to Uefa's financial control body adjudicatory chamber.

    BBC Sport reported this week that Uefa investigators want City to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

    Chief investigator Yves Leterme has made his recommendation but it is not known if he supports a ban.

    City said "the accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false".

    Former Belgian prime minister Leterme, chairman of the investigatory panel of Uefa's independent financial control board (CFCB), and his team looked at evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks published by German newspaper Der Spiegel last year.

    The reports alleged that City broke FFP regulations by inflating the value of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal. City were fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.

    It understood Leterme's fellow board members firmly expressed the view at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if City are found guilty.

    Uefa said Leterme, "after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber", decided "to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation".

    European football's governing body said it "will not be making any further comment on the matter until a decision is announced by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber".

    City, who won the Premier League for a second year in succession last Sunday, have denied any wrongdoing.

    "The leaks to media over the last week are indicative of the process that has been overseen by Mr Leterme," read a City statement.

    "Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.

    "The CFCB IC referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City FC to the chamber.

    "The decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process and there remain significant unresolved matters raised by Manchester City FC as part of what the club has found to be a wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed, and hostile process."

    It is unlikely any punishment for City will apply to next season's Champions League because they could appeal, and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    City could also soon face a transfer ban, with the Football Association, Premier League and Fifa investigating the club over the signing of youth players.

    Analysis
    BBC Sport's Simon Stone

    About three weeks ago, Manchester City made a very detailed submission that extended to more than 100 pages.

    It has not gone unnoticed by the club that it is five years to the day since Uefa announced City had breached FFP rules and fined them £49m, although City received £33m back three years later after they met regulations.

    According to CFCB's own regulations, they cannot bring prosecutions more than five years after the event.

    In the referral it is understood the CFCB said that through their submission there are further questions to be asked of City but, since their submission, none of these questions has been put to the club.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48292248


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  33. #33
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    Manchester City are "innocent until proven guilty" over claims they breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, says manager Pep Guardiola.

    City, seeking to complete a domestic treble in Saturday's FA Cup final against Watford, face a Uefa inquiry.

    It is understood some Uefa investigators want the club to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty.

    "I said many times I trust the club," said Guardiola.

    "If Uefa decide we have done something wrong, we will be punished.

    "I know people want to find us guilty but we are innocent until proven guilty. Today we are innocent."

    City have won the Premier League and Carabao Cup this season and will become the first team to win the men's domestic treble in England if they beat Watford on Saturday (17:00 BST).

    The club have said "the accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false".

    Chief investigator Yves Leterme has made his recommendation but it is not known if he supports a ban.

    Former Belgian prime minister Leterme, chairman of the investigatory panel of Uefa's independent financial control board (CFCB), and his team looked at evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks published by German newspaper Der Spiegel last year.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    The reports alleged that City broke FFP regulations by inflating the value of a multi-million-pound sponsorship deal. City were fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.

    It understood Leterme's fellow board members firmly expressed the view at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if City are found guilty.

    Uefa said Leterme, "after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber", decided "to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation".

    It is unlikely any punishment for City will apply to next season's Champions League because they could appeal, and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    City could also face a transfer ban, with the Football Association, Premier League and Fifa investigating the club over the signing of youth players.

    Meanwhile, Guardiola also responded to criticism the club have faced since a video emerged on social media on Tuesday which appeared to show City players and staff singing a distasteful version of Liverpool's 'Allez, Allez, Allez'.

    Guardiola said: "If someone was offended for another issue I apologise, but it wasn't our intention. We were happy for ourselves."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48314113


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  34. #34
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    Captain Vincent Kompany says he will leave Manchester City after Saturday's FA Cup final win over Watford.

    The 33-year-old defender won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups during 11 years at Etihad Stadium in which he scored 20 goals in 360 games.

    By beating Watford 6-0 at Wembley, City became the first men's side to complete the domestic treble in England.

    In an open letter on Facebook, Kompany said it "doesn't feel real".

    "Countless of times have I imagined this day," he said. "After all, the end has felt nearby for so many years.

    "Man City has given me everything. I've tried to give back as much as I possibly could."

    Belgium centre-back Kompany joined City from Hamburg as a defensive midfielder in 2008, and was named club captain three years later.

    He scored his final goal for the club against Leicester on 6 May, a thrilling strike from outside the box that brought City within one win of the Premier League title, which they sealed on the final day of the season with victory at Brighton.

    "The time has come for me to go now," he said.

    "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.

    "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."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48325845


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