Manchester City has been the ultimate top team in England for a couple of years. Most of the club’s greatest legends since 2000, however, are players who made waves before Pep Guardiola.
Since Sheikh Mansour took over the club in 2008, Manchester City has developed into the top club in England. And at least since Pep Guardiola took over, the Skyblues became an unstoppable machine.
But who are the club’s greatest legends since 2000? And is a certain Norwegian one of them?
TOR: Joe Hart
After two loan spells, Hart made his breakthrough with the Citizens in 2010. He was between the posts 348 times before Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, followed by several posts in Europe. He has been with Celtic Glasgow since 2021.
DEFENSE: Pablo Zabaleta
City transferred 8.7 million euros to Espanyol Barcelona in 2008 to secure the Argentine’s services. Until 2017 he tilled the right side. After the end of his contract he played for West Ham for three more years.
In 2020 he also ended his career there.
The all-purpose weapon was signed by Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for 40 million euros. First active in defensive midfield, he later moved to central defence. According to Guardiola, the Brazilian was an ‘incredible captain’.
His contract expired in 2022 and he then went back to his native Brazil to his home club CA Paranaense on a free transfer.
The Belgian moved from HSV to Manchester in 2008, where he was appointed captain for the 2011/12 season. Kompany was repeatedly plagued by serious injuries, making a total of 360 games for the club (the third most in history).
Returned to his first club Anderlecht in 2019 where he retired as player-coach in 2020 and remained head coach until 2022. Then it was off to Burnley. With the Clarets, he has been promoted to the Premier League several weeks before the end of the season.
The Serb wore the Citizens jersey for seven years. “My time here was just wonderful,” he wrote on his farewell.
After three years at AS Roma, Kolarov played for Inter Milan from 2020-2022 before retiring.
MIDFELD: Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian came to Manchester from Wolfsburg in 2015 for 76 million euros and has become an integral part of the game. There he became one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe and has been one of the top scorers on the island for years.
He has won four championships with City and has twice been voted Premier League player of the season. In addition, after less than seven full seasons, De Bruyne is City’s record assist provider with 144 assists.
The Ivorian was one of the club’s first major transfers since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008. Over the years he dominated central midfield before Guardiola arrived. After leaving in 2018, he said the Spaniard “would put African players at a disadvantage”.
Touré then played for Olympiacos Piraeus and QD Huanghai in China before retiring in 2020.
The “Little Magician”, as they called Silva in Manchester, was “one of the greatest legends the club produced”, according to Guardiola. Silva is the club’s record player with 436 games.
In those games, however, the Spaniard averaged 140 assists – stepping down as the record-holder before being overtaken by De Bruyne in 2022/23. Still playing for Real Sociedad today.
ATTACK: Raheem Sterling
Guardiola once called him “one of the best players in the world”. And even if you disagree, Sterling is one of the most accomplished forwards in City’s history.
From 2015 to 2022 he had 131 goals – the second-most in club history – and 95 assists – the third-most.
He now plays for Chelsea and is under contract there until 2027.
“Kun” is probably the greatest legend in the history of the Skyblues club. He is the club’s undisputed top scorer with 260 goals in 390 games. He also added 73 assists.
Agüero joined Manchester from Atletico Madrid in 2011 for €49m and made his mark right at the end of his debut season with an injury-time goal against Queens Park Rangers on the last day of the game to propel City to their first championship since 1968.
Moved to FC Barcelona in 2021 but had to end his career shortly afterwards due to a heart problem.
Yes, the Norwegian has not even played a season with the Citizens, but after 27 games in the Premier League he has used Agüero’s season record and is only in the league with 30 goals. Overall he has 44 goals (5 assists) in just 38 games and is already poised to have the best season by a forward in club history – at 22.
If he stays longer, he should be challenging, if not smashing, Agüero’s career record for goals before too long!
COACH: Pep Guardiola
With a point average of 2.33, the Catalan clearly leads the list of the best. Playfully, he raised the team to a new level. Guardiola still has a contract until 2025 and would therefore coach the club for nine years.
He has won the Premier League four times so far, but is still waiting for a long-awaited third CL title after 2009 and 2011 with Barcelona.
We have to do a little tricking because Haaland and Agüero are both center forwards, of course, while Sterling is at home on the wing. Still, these are the club’s top three forwards since 2000. Fernandinho would of course have looked even better in the midfield, but we couldn’t find a central defender that would have been a better fit for Kompany’s side.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Richard Dunne
The rock in the surf even made the relegation in 2000 and later led the club to the well-known successes. In 2009 he moved on and played first for Aston Villa and later for QPR.
The Brazilian calmed the situation in the goalkeeping position and made himself indispensable for the team. Ederson holds the world record for the longest tee shot from a hand at 75.35 meters – the Skyblues also benefit from this.
He has now made 278 appearances since 2017 – 13th in the club rankings.
The Bosinier always flew a little under the radar, but after four years he still had 72 goals to his credit. After City he moved to AS Roma, meanwhile the old master storms for Inter Milan.
The homegrown player played for the club from 2001 to 2015. However, numerous serious injuries put obstacles in the way of the Englishman. After four years at Aston Villa, he ended his career.
He is now working as a TV expert.
City had the English workhorse cost a proud 22 million euros. After five years in which he played 203 games for Man City, Milner did not renew his contract and joined Liverpool.
Like Kolarov, he did a good job down his left flank but, like Richards, was often injured. In six years he still came up with over 200 games for the club.
In 2017 he went to Basaksehir on a free transfer before moving to Servette Geneva in the Swiss league in December 2020.
The Argentinian powerhouse spent four years chasing goals for the Skyblues. Unfortunately, his farewell was ugly. Tevez refused to be substituted and fled to Turin in 2013. Therefore only one place on the bench!
Later returned to Boca Juniors before making a detour to China. In 2022 he ended his career.
Again and again the Frenchman flashed his genius and thus enchanted the city fans. His departure was not appropriate either. I simply found Guardiola too fat and sorted him out, but Nasri never got back on track.
Through Anatalyaspor he ended up at West Ham and Anderlecht before retiring in 2021. In between, he was also banned for 18 months for doping.
The Italian led the Skyblues to their third championship in a heart-stopping final in 44 years in the 2011/12 season. He also won the FA Cup. In 2013, Italy’s current national coach was fired after three and a half years.
He won the 2021 European Championship with Italy but missed the 2022 World Cup shortly after.