Vincent Kompany is to leave Manchester City after 11 years of service and 10 trophies at the club.
The dominant centre-back has again been a rock for Pep Guardiola’s side this season and his final game was the 6-0 thumping of Watford in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
The 33-year-old’s next move will see him return to boyhood club Anderlecht where he will become player-manager.
Kompany leaves a superb legacy and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “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.
“We now look forward to celebrating his testimonial match in September so that we can properly celebrate his City contribution. He will always be part of the City family.”
Kompany has made a huge contribution to the club in their most successful decade and his interventions proved decisive again this year.
He scored a wonder goal to beat Leicester in the penultimate game in the Premier League and without it, City would have been pipped to the title by Liverpool.
The Belgian joined City in 2008 for an undisclosed fee from Hamburg and rapidly established himself as a powerful central defender and leader in the dressing room under Mark Hughes.
His 10 trophies have all been won domestically, with four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups.
Kompany wrote an open letter to City supporters explaining his decision. It read: “Dear all,
“Community Shield Winners! Back 2 back League Cup Winners! Back 2 back Champions of England! FA Cup Winners!
“We’ve just seen the close of an incredible season. My 11th as a Blue. And I cannot believe I’m writing this but… also my last as a Blue. Countless of times have I imagined this day, after all, the end has felt nearby for so many years. It still doesn’t feel real. Man City has given me everything. I’ve tried to give back as much as I possibly could. How often does someone get the chance to end such an important chapter, representing a club with such great history and tradition, in such a great fashion?
“The time has come for me to go now.
“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.
He went on to speak about his regret that his mother, who died of cancer 11 years ago, never saw him play for the club he loves.
“I also want to use this platform to express the love that I have for my nearest and dearest. It knows no boundaries. Carla, Sienna, Sire and Kai, the one and only quadruple that matters. My dad (Pierre), Christel and François, my true Invincibles.
“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. 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.”
City will be losing not only their key leader but also one of the most important players in the squad.
Kompany’s departure means Nicolas Otamendi, who had become frustrated by a lack of game time, is now more likely to stay at the Etihad.
The club are interested in Leicester and England stalwart Harry Maguire, but have not made an approach.
And Ajax’s highly rated young captain Matthijs de Ligt is another option, though they will face competition from Europe’s elite clubs.