LONDON • Vincent Kompany announced yesterday that he will leave Manchester City after 11 trophy-laden years to become player-manager of Anderlecht.
Belgian defender Kompany joined City in 2008 and made 360 appearances, winning four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields.
The club captain signed off by lifting the FA Cup trophy on Saturday after City thrashed Watford 6-0 to complete a domestic treble.
"As overwhelming as it is, the time has come for me to go. And what a season to bow out," said the 33-year-old, who was in tears after scoring a dramatic long-range winner against Leicester in City's final home game of the season on May 6.
"I feel nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful to all those who supported me on a special journey, at a very special club."
Anderlecht is the Belgian club where Kompany began his professional career before joining Hamburg and he admitted he is relishing the chance to move into management.
"For the next three years, I will take up the role of player-manager of Anderlecht. Belgium's finest," he wrote on Facebook.
Vincent Kompany has led Manchester City to four Premier League titles.
"This may come as a surprise to you. It's the most passionate yet rational decision I've ever made.
"(Club owner) 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."
Kompany, who featured in only 17 of City's 38 league games this season because of muscle problems, also paid tribute to his teammates and manager Pep Guardiola.
"It's cliche to say it, but it's also so true: without my teammates, I would have never been here today," he said.
"So to all of you, from the 2008-2009 squad to today's domestic treble winners: I owe you guys!
"A special word also to Pep and the backroom staff: you've been superb... Thank you so much."
In September, City will hold Kompany's testimonial match, from which he will donate all profits to Manchester's homeless.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak told the club's official website: "There have been many important contributors to Manchester City's renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany. 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."
Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, Kompany's club and country teammate, tweeted: "Playing for about 10 years with this man for club and country. And what a privilege it's been.
"Big player, Big personality and big leader. Learnt a lot from you. Wishing you all the best for the future."