Vincent Kompany suffers 35th injury in eight years at Manchester City

Belgian’s Etihad future in doubt as club aim for place in last 16 of Champions League

Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany goes down with an injury against Crystal Palace. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany goes down with an injury against Crystal Palace. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

 

Vincent Kompany’s career at Manchester City is in serious doubt after he sustained knee ligament damage, the 35th injury of his eight years at the club and one which should rule him out until after Christmas.

The captain hurt his right knee in a collision with Claudio Bravo during Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace and flies to Barcelona today to be treated by Dr Ramon Cugat, the specialist favoured by Pep Guardiola. Kompany is set to miss a minimum of four weeks and though there remains a firm desire from the player and Guardiola that he try to re-establish himself on a permanent basis, the prospect becomes more remote with each fresh blow.

The central defender has missed 35 weeks of 2016 so if he is out for another four he will have been fit for 13 weeks. Guardiola decided in the summer to allow the captain one more season to prove he can be regularly available. Yet the latest setback means that Kompany will have made only five appearances with half the season gone, and given the Belgian’s serial injuries he faces a fight to stay fit for the second half of the campaign.

Guardiola will also have to decide whether to drop him from the Champions League squad for the knockout stage if City qualify and whether he should recruit a new centre-back in the winter window. Beyond John Stones, the City manager is unsure regarding Nicolas Otamendi, while his only other senior centre-back is Aleksandar Kolarov, who as a career left-back is a makeshift in the position.

Difficult

Guardiola, whose side will progress to the knockout stage if Borussia Moenchenglandbach are beaten on Wednesday night, said: “For the next weeks he’s injured, yes. He had a little bit of a problem – fortunately, it’s not too bad in the head [after initially suffering concussion], because that is the most difficult thing. But in that action he had a little problem with the knee, and the next weeks he will be out.”

The ligament damage was discovered following a scan after Kompany complained of pain in the knee. “He’s sad and upset. But it’s long time, a long time he doesn’t play,” Guardiola said. “He is in the best hands, so he’s travelling there – Cugat is part of our team, our staff, and he will be controlled there and make the best treatment possible to make his recuperation as soon as possible. It’s a ligament, it’s not more than that. The doctor told me weeks but didn’t explain exactly how many. A serious ligament would be six months [but] it will be shorter. It’s weeks, I don’t know, three or four.”

Asked if he may drop Kompany from the Champions League squad, Guardiola said: “I think now is not the moment because first we have to qualify for the next round, and after that we are going to decide in the right moment. What we are looking for, what we are expecting, is that Vincent can finally stay regularly in the team because one day it’s a muscle problem, the last game it was you know – this situation.

“We have to help him to take this regularity to training week after week and be able to play more often. And after that, at the end right now, it’s not the most important thing [whether to drop him].”

Despite City’s fine 3-1 win over Barcelona in the previous Group C game, Guardiola still believes it will take time to establish the club in the continental elite, maybe as long as a decade.

Shorter

“I say 10 years but hopefully it will be shorter,” said Guardiola. “My opinion about that is because a team like Manchester City was 35, 40 years not playing in Europe, you need time to be involved in that level. It’s simple like that. They were not there for a long time. When you are talking about Barcelona, Madrid, Juventus, Milan, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or this kind of big team – Porto, Benfica, Inter Milan – almost every club has been there for 50 years, and that is the difference between one club and another one.

“We are fighting since the Abu Dhabi chairman bought the club to try to make this step forward, and try to arrive there. We invest money, like all other big clubs in the world. Not just Manchester City spend money but all the other big clubs around the world do that, to try to do the best thing as soon as possible to reduce that distance to the other ones, but the history is the history and the history speaks for itself.

“They were a long time not in Europe, that counts a lot for the respect for the opponent. We are looking to do it as quick as possible, in the next 10 years, or three, four, six, seven years. Then the people consider: ‘Wow, in the last 10 years this club are always there.’

“Last season it was the semi-final, this year we are going to try to get to the last 16, we are going to arrive in the last 16 and try to arrive in the quarter-finals and to be there in the elite.” Guardian service

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