Manchester City star Raheem Sterling wants to hold talks with the Football Association (FA) and Premier League about tackling racism.

England forward Sterling has this season been vocal on the issue since suffering alleged racist abuse from Chelsea fans during a 2-0 loss in December, criticising the media's coverage of black players and speaking out in support of other footballers that have been targeted.

The 24-year-old in April backed an anti-racism manifesto that included demands for harsher punishments and greater representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic people at a governance level throughout football.

Sterling, who, along with Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi, was also subjected to racist chanting during a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro in March, hopes to have an opportunity to have a dialogue with English football's governing bodies during the close season.

"With football you can get caught up in training every day and games every two to three days so you don't really have a lot of time to be out speaking to people," said Sterling at the Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival.

"But in my off-time, holidays if I can get to speak to the FA and people in the Premier League and see how we can look about doing things better in the future for sure I will be there in person to try and do that."

Sterling reiterated his desire to see a nine-point deduction handed to clubs whose fans are found to have racially abused players.

"There needs to be stricter punishments. If I go to a football game and I support Manchester United for example I do not want to be the person that lets my team down by saying silly remarks in the stadium," he said.

"If your team is going to be deducted nine points from them winning the league you are not going to say these racist remarks.

"Fining someone or fining a club £5,000 or fining a fan £300 doesn't do anything."

Vincent Kompany will feature for Manchester City one last time in a testimonial match to be played in September.

Kompany confirmed on Sunday that he will leave the club after 11 years in order to take up a player-manager role at former side Anderlecht.

The Belgian's last official game for City came in Saturday's 6-0 FA Cup final demolition of Watford, which completed an unprecedented domestic treble.

He said farewell to supporters during City's parade for FA Cup, Premier League and EFL Cup trophies on Monday, while coach Pep Guardiola insisted he would return to the club again one day.

Kompany will be back perhaps sooner than expected, as the club confirmed he will lead a 'City Legends' side against a Premier League 'All-Stars' team on September 11 at the Etihad Stadium.

The fixture will raise money for homeless charity Tackle4MCR, a foundation the defender helped set up along with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

"City favourites from the recent past and present will play alongside the captain again, with some familiar Premier League stars of the past decade in direct opposition," the club said.

Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero have been included in Argentina's squad for the 2019 Copa America, but Mauro Icardi misses out after a difficult few months at Inter.

Icardi has failed to impress this year at club level, with a combination of contractual issues and injuries seeing him left out of the team and stripped of the captaincy.

He scored for only the second time in 2019 during Inter's 4-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday, but both of those goals have come from the penalty spot and he did little to catch the eye in general.

Manchester City star Aguero is in the squad, however, returning to the selection for the first time since Argentina's disappointing World Cup campaign, when he scored two goals in four games.

Aguero has enjoyed another strong season at club level and will be confident of transferring that form to the Copa, where he will be joined with City team-mate Nicolas Otamendi.

Dybala also makes the cut despite an underwhelming campaign with Juventus, in which he seemed to suffer from the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi is expected to captain the team as one of the senior stars, while Matias Suarez – also 31 years of age – is a surprise inclusion among the strikers, with the River Plate man having won his only two senior caps this year.

There is also a shock in defence, with Milton Casco chosen ahead of Gabriel Mercado, a mainstay over the past few years.

Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo also miss out.

Argentina will play Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar in the group stage of the tournament in Brazil.

 

Argentina squad in full:

Franco Armani (River Plate), Agustin Marchesin (Club America), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors); Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Renzo Saravia (Racing Club), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Milton Casco (River Plate), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City); Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Exequiel Palacio (River Plate), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis); Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Matias Suarez (River Plate), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Inter).

Pep Guardiola believes Vincent Kompany's destiny is to return Manchester City later in his career as the centre-back prepares to leave for a player-manager role at Anderlecht.

Kompany has spent 11 years at City and enjoyed great success, with the Champions League being the only major trophy he failed to win at the Premier League club.

His final success came on Saturday when City crushed Watford 6-0 to lift the FA Cup, completing an unprecedented domestic treble, adding to Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs.

The 33-year-old Belgian announced a day later that he was to leave and return to Anderlecht, his first club as a professional, and will take up a player-manager position.

City will struggle to replace Kompany's experience and influence, but Guardiola is confident the defender will return one day.

"I think we're going to miss him [Kompany] a lot," Guardiola said during City's trophy parade on Monday.

"I'm going to miss him, but he is going to see us in the future because he is coming back sooner or later.

"It's the best way to say goodbye after an incredible season together. He was a real captain, he helped us a lot.

"Now it's time to have good food, good wine and enjoy this incredible season together. In a few weeks we are going to think about [the future]. Now we are going to enjoy what we have done."

Bernardo Silva vowed to "go for" the Champions League after being named Manchester City's Player of the Season at the club's trophy parade on Monday.

Silva enjoyed a fine campaign, nailing down a spot in the starting spot despite Riyad Mahrez's arrival and excelling in a number of different roles.

The Portuguese midfielder's haul of seven goals in the Premier League helped City retain the title, while they also claimed the EFL Cup and FA Cup, the latter of which they won in a 6-0 hammering of Watford on Saturday.

City announced Silva had topped a fan vote for the individual honour during Monday's celebrations, with the winner declaring his intention to help secure European success next term.

"Thank you very much everyone," he said. "The way you pushed us this season. You made it real for us. Without them [the fans], it wouldn't be possible. Next season, we'll come back, trying to give you more titles.

"A lot of hard work has been put in. We're very tired! It's been a long season, a fantastic season for us, but with four trophies [the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield] for all squad and staff, it's been amazing.

"Hopefully, we want to do better, try and go for European trophies as well - it's what we're missing.

"The supporters need to demand more from us. European trophies - we need that. Let’s go for it."

Vincent Kompany bid farewell to Manchester City's supporters by declaring his undying love for the club he believes to be the best in the world - then signed off with a mic drop at their trophy parade.

Kompany and City broke the news on Sunday that the Belgian is to depart the club after 11 years, returning to Anderlecht to take up a player-manager role.

The centre-back has enjoyed great success at City, winning four Premier League titles and the EFL Cup on four occasions. He is also a two-time FA Cup winner after Saturday's 6-0 hammering of Watford at Wembley.

That victory clinched an unprecedented domestic treble, having already won the Premier League and EFL Cup this season, allowing Kompany to depart on a high.

City took to the streets of Manchester on Monday for an open-top bus parade with those three trophies and the Community Shield, allowing Kompany the opportunity to say goodbye to the fans.

He said: "I've wanted to do this all my life. You are the best club in the world, I don't care whether you win the Champions League or not.

"You are the best club in the world and remember that forever. These guys deserve all your love every day of the week, every single day of the year they'll work hard.”

"This is the way I want to leave, I love you – I'm out," Kompany concluded before dropping the microphone.

Prior to the speech, footage of musician Noel Gallagher - a City fan - thanking Kompany for his service was shown on the big screen, before the musician played 'Wonderwall' in tribute to the Belgian, with both supporters and the rest of the squad singing along.

Ilkay Gundogan is ready to reopen contracts talks with Manchester City after their historic domestic treble.

Watford were thrashed 6-0 at Wembley on Saturday as City became the first English men's team to complete a clean sweep, adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and EFL Cup titles.

Gundogan is heading into the final year of his contract at the club, who also won the Community Shield at the start of the season.

The Germany international has enjoyed extra responsibility under Pep Guardiola this season, making 31 Premier League appearances, partly down to injury issues for Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne.

City have already lost Vincent Kompany after the club captain left to take a player-manager role at Anderlecht but Gundogan suggested he will stay at the Etihad Stadium.

"Now is enough time to reflect on the situation and to take up the talks again more intensely with the club," he told Bild of his contract situation.

While City made history domestically, Guardiola has acknowledged his time at the club will be judged by European success.

And his side fell short again in their bid for a Champions League crown as they were knocked out by Premier League rivals Tottenham in stunning fashion.

"The exit in Europe was extremely bitter," Gundogan said of the quarter-final defeat. "But it would be wrong to mourn the Champions League after our domestic success.

"If I can wish for something at club level for my future, then it is definitely to win the Champions League.”

Aymeric Laporte said Manchester City are aiming to "stay on the top always" after completing a historic treble of domestic trophies in his first full season at the club.

The former Athletic Bilbao stopper, who City paid a reported €65million for in January 2018, featured in all but four of Pep Guardiola's starting line-ups in the Premier League in 2018-19 and played again in the 6-0 FA Cup final victory over Watford.

After celebrating the treble at Wembley, Laporte outlined City's vision for next season and underlined his belief in their ability to improve their performance in the Champions League and sustain their success long into the future.

"It has been a great season," said Laporte, who played in City's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Tottenham in April.

"We were disappointed with the Champions League but I think we reacted really well and made an amazing season.

"This [the FA Cup]  is the last one and I'm very happy to win it too. Now we will look ahead to the new season.

"Of course we want to stay on the top always. We have the team to do these things.

"I think we're going to be on the top all the seasons but we know other teams play too and it's difficult to win the Premier League.

"We have the players and we will try to do that."

Laporte shed light on the experience of working with Guardiola, who was seen having an animated conversation with Raheem Sterling after the forward scored a brace against Watford.

France youth international Laporte signed a new contract in February, tying him to the club until 2025, and he indicated that working under former Barcelona midfielder Guardiola was key to his happiness at the Etihad Stadium.

"Of course he's one of the best managers in the world, if not the best," said Laporte.

"I'm very happy to work with him every single day and improve every day, and what you saw is true - he wants the best for us and wants us to improve all the time.

"It's amazing every day with him. I've improved in my positioning, tactically.

"Every day you train on tactics, technical [elements]."

Kevin De Bruyne is not bothered about Manchester City's Champions League failure, adamant every team would want to be in their position after clinching an unprecedented domestic treble.

City crushed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus netting braces while De Bruyne and David Silva also scored in the rout at Wembley Stadium.

Their success on Saturday followed on from Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs, capping an immensely successful campaign for Pep Guardiola's squad.

The only trophy to elude them was the Champions League, having been knocked out by Tottenham in the quarter-finals.

However, De Bruyne would rather focus on what they have won rather than the one that got away.

When asked if it was annoying City did not do better in Europe, De Bruyne said: "No, not at all.

"I think if everyone could take our situation, they would do it without blinking. You can't really think about 'what if' or what should happen.

"We lost in the Champions League, you take it on the chin and go further. The response we did afterwards is the way you should react. By winning the title and winning the FA Cup.

"I don't think in the start of the year you have the goal of winning three titles.

"You set up to be the best you can and in the end you have to reflect on what's going well and what's not.

"This year we can reflect on that we won three titles and got to the quarter finals of the Champions League and that's an incredible feat in itself."

City's exploits over the last two seasons has seen some suggest they are among the greatest English sides ever but while De Bruyne is flattered, he is not about to join the debate as he feels it is impossible to compare different generations.

"Luckily, I don't ever have to debate that," he said. "It's great to be in contention to be named with other teams.

"For me personally, it is impossible to compare generations, it is impossible to compare style of football.

"Football changes all of time like every other sport. It is great to be there, it means you are part of one of the best ever teams in the Premier League and that doesn't happen to a lot of people."

Pep Guardiola still has the hunger to improve Manchester City and believes he will ultimately be judged by whether he can deliver the Champions League trophy to the Etihad Stadium.

City hammered Watford 6-0 in a record-equalling FA Cup final victory on Saturday, wrapping up the third major trophy of their season following on from their Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs.

The Champions League remains out of City's grasp for now, with Guardiola's side having lost to Tottenham - who will meet Liverpool in an all-Premier League final on June 1 - on away goals in the quarter-finals.

And Guardiola, who also failed to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich and last lifted the trophy with Barcelona in 2011, conceded that ultimately his side's performance in Europe's elite club competition with be his measuring stick for success.

"Yes, of course, I wouldn't be here next season unless I believed we could improve as a group," Guardiola said when asked if he still had a desire to get better.

"I know it will be difficult because people will compare and people cannot expect us to repeat the treble or four titles in one season, that is something one team does once in their lifetime.

"I said before that I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League. I know unless we do that it will not be enough.

"This comes with me. I know that. I arrive in Barcelona, we were lucky we won it two times in four years and the people expect I am something special that we have to win the Champions League and it's still true.

"In this club, the points record and the domestic competitions is incredible, but the Champions League we don't win quite often compared to the other ones because the teams are so good, the competition is so demanding but we want to win it.

"But I'm not focused believe me at the start of the season thinking: 'I have to win one title, two, three or four', never. 

"We will prepare against Liverpool [in the Community Shield], this game and that's all and we will see how far we arrive."

One player who will not be taking part in City's next campaign is Vincent Kompany, who has confirmed that he will be leaving the club to join Anderlecht as player-manager.

Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph are also reportedly on the verge of leaving the club, while Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane have not yet signed new contracts.

And, after re-iterating that City are keen to keep both Sane and Gundogan at the club, Guardiola says he has learned plenty about all of his squad this campaign. 

"We offered to extend Sane's contract and we hope he will stay. What more proof is there – we have been saying for six or seven months we want to keep him," Guardiola said.

"If he doesn't want to stay, he doesn't want to stay. It is the same with Gundogan – he has one year left and we want to extend his contract and we haven't done that yet.

"People forget they are human beings. Their relationship with each other is incredible. In the bad moments we were seven points behind Liverpool and we did not give up.

"After we lost the Champions League quarter-final we had two days recovery and then played Tottenham and then to Old Trafford, then to Burnley.

"It was never, never, never, never give up. We did not have low moments really because we got 98 points. There is not one player or two players I can single out, in these finals I think of the players who did not play.

"They are incredible – I think about Phil Foden, he helped us win the cup, or Otamendi, they were an incredible part of our success. I feel sorry for them. When you achieve the treble or four tiles it is not one player, it is everybody. Everyone was incredible and they were involved. That is why we did what we did."

Vincent Kompany will revive a much-loved football tradition when he leaves Manchester City to become player-manager at his boyhood club Anderlecht.

In the era of head coaches and sporting directors, it is rare to find an individual juggling the rigours of playing at the top level while taking charge of a club, but history offers plenty of successful examples for the Belgium international to follow.

Kompany said he has been promised the time, budget, framework and staff support as he aims to revive a once great club, and Anderlecht's supporters will hope he can maintain the form on the field that saw him play a key role in City's historic treble-winning season.

While City fans wish their heroic captain a fond farewell, we look back at five instances where player-managers transformed the fortunes of clubs who trusted them on and off the field.

Glenn Hoddle (Swindon Town, Chelsea)

Glenn Hoddle was, like Kompany, exactly the kind of footballer you would expect to make a good manager: an astute winner with a visionary streak.

At the end of a superb career with Tottenham, Monaco and England, Hoddle took over as player-manager at Swindon Town where he guided the club away from relegation in his first season and delivered promotion to the Premier League in his second, even scoring in the play-off final as the Robins reached the top flight.

Hoddle further enhanced his reputation as player-manager at Chelsea, turning an unfashionable side into an entertaining outfit and signing top European stars like Ruud Gullit and Dan Petrescu to play his brand of passing football.

Ruud Gullit (Chelsea)

Gullit had a year playing under Hoddle at Chelsea in which he could learn the art of player-management, and the Dutch legend made it look easy, guiding Chelsea to FA Cup glory in his first season in charge – the club's first major trophy in 26 years – while anchoring the Blues' midfield alongside Dennis Wise.

Gullit's star quality on and off the field helped to bring Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo and Gianluca Vialli to the club, and when chairman Ken Bates decided to sack his side's player-manager in February 1998, Chelsea were second in the Premier League and playing their best football in decades.

Bryan Robson (Middlesbrough)

Back in 1994, Bryan Robson was revered as one of the great captains in English football, having led Manchester United to back-to-back Premier League titles.

His ability to inspire teams and lead by example was similar to Kompany's, and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson pinned his hopes on Robson being the man to usher in a new football era on Teesside.

Robson did just that, helping to bring Juninho, Emerson, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Nick Barmby to Boro as the club established itself in the top flight of English football, while continuing to play until just 10 days before his 40th birthday.

Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)

When Joe Fagan retired in May 1985, Liverpool turned to 34-year-old striker Kenny Dalglish to take the club forward as player-manager.

Dalglish had already helped the club to win five league titles and his golden touch stayed with him as he delivered a league and FA Cup double in his first season in the dual role.

A further two league titles and another FA Cup followed as the Liverpool legend set the standard for player-managers, maintained his form on the field while being highly effective in the dressing room.

Graeme Souness (Rangers)

Rangers had not won the league in nine years and were languishing in fifth place in the table when Graeme Souness was installed as player-manager in 1986.

The Edinburgh-born midfielder was an immediate success, guiding the Gers to a league and League Cup double in in his first season while losing none of the aggression that characterised his playing style.

He was sent off after 34 minutes of his competitive debut against Hibernian, and later admitted his approach to the game "bordered on being out of order", but Rangers were not complaining: Souness won 125 of his 193 league games in charge.

Vincent Kompany said he had "lived the dream" as he called time on his Manchester City career in the aftermath of the victory that clinched an unprecedented treble.

After 11 seasons at City, the 33-year-old announced his decision to join his boyhood club Anderlecht as player-manager on a three-year deal, and he said his years in Manchester give him the football education he needs to launch the next phase of his career.

That his last game in the sky blue of City saw him captain the team to a 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford was fitting, given the glittering, trophy-laden years that preceded it.

The four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four EFL Cups and two Community Shields Kompany won with City only tell part of a tale packed with memorable moments.

As an inspirational captain waves goodbye to the conquerors of English football, we look back at his best moments.

May 2011: A first taste of glory

Kompany said that beating Manchester United in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final was the moment City started to believe they could win trophies.

The confidence with which City despatched their bitter rivals 1-0, courtesy of Yaya Toure's goal, was underpinned by Kompany's towering performance at centre-back, and he was every bit as good in the final.

Alongside Joleon Lescott, Kompany put in another faultless display at Wembley as Toure struck again versus Stoke City, securing the club's first major trophy in 35 years and giving birth to a dynasty.

April 2012: Turning the tide

Manchester United won the Premier League title 13 times between 1993 and 2013, but a crucial goal from Kompany preceded the end of the Red Devils' era of dominance.

The 2011-12 title race was poised on a knife edge with United holding the advantage until Kompany rose in first-half stoppage time at Etihad Stadium to power a header beyond David de Gea.

The 1-0 victory - over rivals City would hold off to win the title on goal difference 13 days later - and Kompany's becalming of Wayne Rooney signalled a shift in the balance of power from which United have never fully recovered.

May 2014: Title number two

United delivered one last Premier League title for Alex Ferguson in 2013, but the following year they were nowhere to be seen as Liverpool pushed City all the way to the final day of the 2013-14 season.

Manuel Pellegrini's City team needed a point from their clash with West Ham to regain the title, and their captain was on hand to score the second in a 2-0 victory at the Etihad before he lifted English football's most coveted trophy for a second time.

2016-2018: Fighting to be fit

A series of injuries tarnished Kompany's season in 2015-16, restricting him to just 14 Premier League appearances, but the indomitable Belgian starred in the EFL Cup final and was named man of the match for his display before a penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool.

Calf problems continued to badly hamper Kompany, although in February 2018 the sheer force of his spirit and desire to play was on display at Wembley. He scored City's second in a 3-0 EFL Cup final win over Arsenal and was again named man of the match.

May 2019: Bowing out in style

Kompany's last Premier League campaign was arguably the most thrilling of all and, when City desperately needed a moment of inspiration to see them over the line, their captain fantastic did not let them down.

Even his team-mates were taken aback when Kompany swung back his right foot with 20 minutes left to play in a must-win game against Leicester City at the Etihad, and the thunderbolt he unleashed into the top right corner of Kasper Schmeichel's net from 25 yards stunned everyone.

The goal settled the match and left City just needing a win over Brighton on the final day to clinch the title, which they duly delivered, and while Kompany will always be remembered at City for his defending rather than his finishing, the image of his wonder strike will forever be etched into the club's collective memory.

Vincent Kompany has confirmed he will leave Manchester City after 11 seasons to become player-manager at Anderlecht.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed a stellar career in Manchester since joining the club in 2008, becoming a key figure as City transformed from Premier League also-rans to serial trophy winners.

While the Champions League has remained out of Kompany's grasp, the Belgian counts four league titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups among his honours.

And, using Opta facts, we take a look at the key numbers from Kompany's time at City.

10 - Since Kompany's arrival in 2008, no Premier League team has won more than the 10 trophies claimed by City in that time. Of course, 2008 was also the year that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan took over the club.

360 - Kompany made 360 appearances for City across all competitions.

119 - Key for any defender, Kompany helped City keep 119 clean sheets during his time in Manchester. But he also made his presence felt at the other end, scoring 20 goals - including that thunderbolt against Leicester City earlier this month.

265 - With 265 Premier League appearances, Kompany is third behind David Silva (282) and Joe Hart (266) in terms of appearances in the competition for City.

1 - Kompany tops the list of appearances made by Belgian players in the Premier League, ahead of the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard.

94 - Only Chelsea great John Terry, with 101, has kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than Kompany.

167 - With Kompany in the side, City have won 167 out of 265 Premier League games - a win percentage of 63 that falls slightly to 62.5 per cent without him in the side (95 wins out of 152).

3,330 - Kompany played in excess of 3,000 league minutes in 2010-11 under Roberto Mancini, starting all but one of City's 38 top-flight matches. His lowest total of minutes came in 2016-17, Guardiola's first campaign at the helm, when he managed just 823 across 11 appearances.

17 - In what has proved to be his final campaign at the club, Kompany made 17 league appearances, starting on 13 occasions.

Vincent Kompany will take on a player-manager role at Belgian Pro League club Anderlecht after calling time on his 11-year spell at Manchester City.

It was confirmed on Sunday that Kompany would be leaving Premier League champions City, with the Belgium defender ending his career at the club by winning a domestic treble.

Now his next move has been revealed, with the 33-year-old announcing that he is to take his first steps into coaching at Anderlecht, the club where he started his career, signing a three-year deal as player-manager.

And Kompany says Pep Guardiola has served as the inspiration for his decision to re-join Anderlecht, stating that the City boss allowed him to rediscover his love of football.

"The end of this season couldn’t be more memorable. I have lived the dream here," Kompany wrote on his official Facebook page.

"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 have decided to take up the challenge at Anderlecht. Player-manager. 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.

"This may come as a surprise to you. It's the most passionate yet rational decision I've ever made. As a footballer, I was born and raised at Anderlecht. Since the age of six, I have been one with that club. A history of 34 league titles, they are second to none."

Kompany left Anderlecht to join Hamburg in 2006, spending two seasons in Germany before transferring to City in 2008, going on to win four league titles, two FA Cups and four EFL Cups.

RSCA had a disappointing campaign under Hein Vanhaezebrouck and then caretaker Karim Belhocine, finishing fourth in the league, and sixth in the subsequent play-offs, as well as failing to make inroads in either the Belgian Cup or the Europa League.

Kompany explained it was a chance meeting that set the wheels in motion for what looks set to be an emotional return to his boyhood club.

"I stopped at their training grounds on my way to international duty last year, just to say hello," he continued.

"Marc Coucke, the chairman, and Sports Director Michael Verschueren asked my opinion regarding the difficult situation the club was in.

"I shared my thoughts and listened to their vision for the future: ambitious, courageous and determined to get back to number one. I offered my help, no strings attached, should they need it.

"Anderlecht has a tradition of having fantastic youth. You could say they have the past and the future but struggle with the present."

Kompany went on to put together some sessions with Anderlecht's technical director Frank Arnesen – formerly of Hamburg, Chelsea and Tottenham – on "how to build a strong playing identity", work that apparently left a strong impression.

"Not so long ago, I took a call from Anderlecht. Quite unexpectedly, they offered me the position of player-manager. Michael and Frank explained to me in detail how they saw it working in practice. They had thought it through," he added.

"Mr. Coucke, the owner, pledged full support: time, budget, framework, staff, facilities. I was left not only impressed, but also intrigued by this sign of confidence in me."

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