MANCHESTER: Manchester City's captain and defender Vincent Kompany is leaving the club after leading his side to the FA Cup, League Cup and Premier League title this season.
He will take over as player-manager at Belgian club RSC Anderlecht, where he started his footballing career.
In his 11 years with City, Kompany won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields. He played 360 times for the Citizens and scored 20 goals.
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City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak paid tribute to Kompany's "huge contribution".
"There have been many important contributors to Manchester City’s renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany.
"He defines the essence of the club. For a decade he has been the lifeblood, the soul, and beating heart of a supremely talented squad.
"A booming voice in the dressing room yet a quiet and measured ambassador off it, Vincent can be as proud of himself as we are of him.
"I am not sure he expected to lift the Premier League trophy on four occasions during his captaincy but he will be remembered and revered whenever this period of unprecedented City success is spoken about by future generations.
"His leadership, intelligence and determination have seen him adapt brilliantly to playing under four different managers and overcome some debilitating injuries. He is a special character who has answered every demand the club has made of him.
"He will always be part of the City family."
In an open letter on his Facebook page, Kompany thanked his loved ones, including his wife and children.
"I live with only one regret. I would have loved to take my mother, Jocelyne, to the Etihad, seeing her chant the City songs sat next to my children and wife," he wrote.
"I would have wanted her to see me happy, playing the game that I love at a club that I love. Deep down, I know she’s been with us through all this time."
He also expressed his gratitude towards the club and its supporters.
"As overwhelming as it is, the time has come for me to go. And what a season to bow out. I feel nothing but gratefulness," Kompany said.
"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.
"Sheikh Mansour changed my life and that of all the City fans around the world, for that I am forever grateful. A blue nation has arisen and challenged the established order of things, I find that awesome.
"I cherish the counsel and leadership of a good human being, Khaldoon Al Mubarak. Man City could not be in better hands."
PLAYER-MANAGER AT ANDERLECHT
Kompany said in a Facebook post that he will take over as player-manager at Belgian club RSC Anderlecht, where he started his career.
Calling it a "passionate yet rational decision", he said he remained "ambitious and driven for the future".
The Blues captain said he received a call from the club "not so long ago" and was offered the position by the club's sports director Michael Verschueren and technical director Frank Arnesen.
"Michael and Frank explained to me in detail how they saw it working in practice. They had thought it through," he wrote.
"I was left not only impressed, but also intrigued by this sign of confidence in me. It got me thinking.
"The end of this season couldn’t be more memorable. I have lived the dream here. I have learned so much the last three years, from an incredible manager.
"Pep Guardiola reignited my love for the game. I’ve witnessed, participated, analysed, absorbed, studied.
"Man City play the football I want to play. It is the football I want to teach and to see played.
"I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations. With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium."