Manchester City are one of the clubs that have a lot of modern-day legends. Of course, they have their fair share of icons from back in the day. But, with all due respect, their popularity is not quite on par with the new-age ones.
Here’s a take on Manchester City’s top ten players of all time, in no particular order.
Peter Doherty was a lethal striker and a mesmerising dribbler during his playing career. But before he started football as a profession, the Irishman used to be a bus conductor!
As a 19-year-old, Doherty moved to England from his home country to play for Blackpool in 1933. He caught Manchester City’s interest and was bought by them for a record amount three seasons later.
His first season for the sky blues was not one to remember as he was jeered on by away crowds on several occasions. The next two seasons, however, were the ones that turned him into a fan favourite. He moved to Derby County after the Second World War, establishing his mark on the club’s history with 79 goals in 130 appearances.
He led City to their very first English First Division title in the 1936/37 season. He was also inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
After a trophy-laden spell at Barcelona, Yaya Toure was bought by City for 24 million pounds on a five-year deal. He caught the eye of the Cityzens in his very first games for the club, including a spectacular performance in the 3-0 win over Liverpool.
Toure was a machine in the middle of the park. His strength dribbling, his tenacious shooting combined with his defensive awareness made him the ideal box-to-box midfielder. In the 2013/14 season, the Ivorian was in the form of his life, scoring 24 goals and 12 assists in 49 appearances across all competitions.
He was awarded the Manchester City player of the season for that incredible campaign. With the sky blues, he won the Premier League thrice, two League Cups and one FA Cup.
The footballer who holds the record for the most number of appearances for Manchester City, Alan Oakes played in Manchester for an astonishing 17 seasons! The former midfielder joined the club in 1958 as a 15-year-old amateur. It was a known fact that Oakes used to clean the boots of club legend Bert Trautmann.
The Englishman became the pulse of the midfield and flourished under manager Joe Mercer, who took charge of the club in 1965. Oakes, who was more defensively minded, tuned into his creativity under Mercer. The duo would go on to take City to the Second Division as well as the First Division titles within 3 seasons.
A true leader on and off the field, Vincent Kompany was one of the most influential signings of the Sheikh Mansour era. The Belgian arrived from Bundesliga side Hamburger SV in 2008 as a defensive midfielder. Little did the City fans know that he would become the most commanding voice on and off the field.
Along with his spectacular ability to read the play, Kompany’s mentality and composure were the ones that made him the legend that he is. He caught everyone by surprise with the thunderbolt of a strike against Leicester City during the 2018/19 season, which eventually proved to be the title clincher for the sky blues.
With an 11-year term filled with 12 trophies, there is no denying that Vincent Kompany is a certified City icon.
If you were to go onto the Manchester streets and ask the locals about Bert Trautmann, more often than not you would get that he would sacrifice everything for the team, sometimes quite literally.
A City career that lasted for almost 15 years, the German goalkeeper’s moment which solidified his claim as a City legend came in the 1956 FA Cup final. Despite suffering a knock early on in the game, Trautmann stayed between the sticks and made important saves to help City win 3-1.
It was later found out that it was not an ordinary knock but a broken neck!
Some people sang his name as the King of the Kippax (after a stand in the Maine Road, the old stadium of the club). Others fondly called him Nijinsky (after the famous racehorse). Colin Bell was another one of the Mercer era signings that changed the course of the club for the better.
The Englishman was signed by City for around forty-five thousand pounds in 1966. He instantly became the people’s player and went on to score an incredible 152 goals in 492 appearances. He was another player who got inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame in 2004.
One of the greatest midfielders to ever don the City blue shirt, David “El Mago” Silva’s time at City was nothing short of incredible. The Spaniard arrived at the club from Valencia in 2010, after winning the World Cup with his national team.
With a trophy cabinet filled to the brim, the 35-year-old’s name will forever remain in the club’s history books. His swift dribbles and hawkeye vision will be etched on the Etihad’s turf and the memories of the fans.
Tommy Johnson was a stone-cold assassin in front of the net. Starting as an apprentice at Lancashire shipyard, the Englishman turned to football as a career after a part-time spell. City picked him up as an 18-year-old soon after the First World War.
Johnson went on to play for the Cityzens for a span of eleven seasons, the highlight of which came in his penultimate season in which he managed to score 38 goals in 39 games!
Neil Young, a born and bred Manchester lad, possessed skills that a lot of today’s #9’s crave for. The striker, hailing from Fallowfield, joined City’s senior team in 1961 and began his romance with the club of his dreams.
Young had a left-foot that could strike the ball from anywhere with immense poise. During his ten seasons at the club, he scored 102 goals in around 400 appearances. He was a truly integral part of Joe Mercer’s roster.
One of the greatest strikers of the century, Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero is not just a City legend but a footballing icon. His league-winning goal in the 2011/12 season finale has been and will continue to be one of football’s greatest fairytales.
With an incredible 181 goals in 272 appearances for City, the Argentinian’s legacy will be celebrated with a statue outside the Etihad, alongside the ones of David Silva and Vincent Kompany. Aguero’s departure at the end of the season will surely mark the end of an era for the Manchester side.
One of the most physically strong attackers of his time, Eric Brook was City’s all-time highest goalscorer. Well, at least until Sergio Aguero came along.
The Englishman conquered the left side of the wing during his time on the pitch. The former Barnsley man spent almost eleven years at the Manchester side, scoring a spectacular 158 goals along the way.
Forming a lethal partnership with Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Neil Young, Lee was a quick attacker with an eye for goal. He was another Joe Mercer recruit, who called him the final piece of his jigsaw and was contributory in the incredible spell under him.
Francis Lee holds the record for most penalties in a single English season. After his playing career, he became the club’s chairman in 1994.
Kevin De Bruyne
It is a fact that Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best midfielders of the modern game. His evolution from a tricky attacking midfielder to an assisting machine to now a complete footballer has been truly phenomenal.
With his incredible display week-in-week-out, his incredible numbers and a cabinet full of trophies, the Belgian is surely going to become one of City’s greatest players of all time, if he is not already.
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