Modern day footballers – especially the best paid ones – often get bad press for having too much money and not enough sense.
But one footballer who’s always stood tall above all that kind of nonsense is former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.
They say he isn’t like other footballers.
During his 11 years at the club, he cemented a place in the hearts of City fans and won admirers in the rest of the community, not just for his footballing prowess but for his charity work.
Wearing the captain’s armband, Kompany led his team to four league titles. Off the pitch he made it his mission to eradicate homelessness in Manchester, setting up his own charity and attending fundraising events.
Last night, to a euphoric welcome, the man known as Mr Manchester City led his children on to the pitch at the ground he’s called home for over a decade.
It was his testimonial match and, true to his word, he promised the money it raised would go to the homeless charity he set up.
Like so often in his playing career, Kompany was watching from the sidelines of his own testimonial match through injury. In the end it finished a draw.
“He’s done what a lot of these multimillionaire footballers haven’t done,” said a City fan outside the stadium. “You see in this day and age flash cars, big watches but you don’t get that with Vincent.”
“He’s helped Manchester out so much,” said former rough sleeper Bernard. “Someone who cares about people who are on the streets – a lot of people don’t understand what we go through.”
The big Belgian said he was proud to have been at the club for eleven years. But it was Manchester showing its appreciation for a man who did so much more for the city than just play football.