Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admits he’s got his work cut out to find a replacement for “special” Vincent Kompany.
After 11 glorious years at the Etihad Stadium, Kompany shocked everybody by announcing he will return to old club Anderlecht on a three-year deal to serve as a player-manager.
The 33-year-old’s announcement came less than 24 hours after leading City to FA Cup glory on Saturday with a 6-0 win over Watford at Wembley.
It enabled Guardiola’s side to become the first team to win a domestic treble in English football after retaining their Premier League and Carabao Cup titles.
Speaking after Kompany’s news, Guardiola paid tribute to the departing City captain.
“His spirit has been incredible; he was so important for us in the final weeks of this season,” said Guardiola, according to Sky Sports.
“It will be so difficult to replace Vinnie. Everyone has their strengths, but Vincent is special. We will miss him. I will miss him a lot.”
Kompany won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields at City.
Therefore, Guardiola has no doubts over the Belgian centre-back’s place in the club’s history books.
He added: “This club is what it is because of some of our great former players like Mike Summerbee, Tony Book, Francis Lee and Colin Bell.
“But since Sheikh Mansour took over and Khaldoon became chairman, so came a new era of players who helped change this club’s destiny.
“Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva – they are incredible players who helped this club take a huge step forward.
“Vincent helped this club achieve so much before I came and when I arrived here.”
Kompany also made 360 appearances for City over the years and provided 20 goals and 11 assists.