Manchester City’s history making class of 2012 have now all departed the club.
The last of the squad that so dramatically won the Premier League title a decade ago - with a 94th-minute winner against Queens Park Rangers - left when Sergio Aguero waved goodbye at the end of last season. He bid City adieu as a title winner for the fifth time and moved to Barcelona where he intended to carry on playing until he was forced to retire due to a heart condition.
Some of his former City teammates are still playing, others have retired and gone into management, media or coaching. Many of them will come together again in Manchester on Friday, May 13, to celebrate their achievements.
They created a moment of football history that will never be forgotten and which, for sheer unpredictable drama, may never be repeated. Now, exactly a decade on, their heroics will be celebrated again. But what of those in Sky Blue of 10 years ago? What came next and what are they doing now?
Joe Hart (goalkeeper)
Played almost 350 games for City in a 12-year stay. Despite winning another league title in 2013/14 and four Golden Glove awards in five seasons, he was loaned out to Torino in 2016/17 and West Ham a year later and finally let go by boss Pep Guardiola, who felt his style of goalkeeping was not in tune with what he wanted. Hart joined Burnley and then Tottenham in the English Premier League before landing at Glasgow Celtic last summer.
Pablo Zabaleta (right-back)
The Olympic gold medal winner left City in 2016/17 after 333 appearances for the club and then had three years at fellow Premier League side West Ham United before retiring. Now does media and ambassadorial work.
Vincent Kompany (captain, defender)
Despite numerous injuries, captain fantastic Kompany amassed 360 appearances for City and scored several vital goals, most notably the thunderbolt that defeated Leicester City in May 2019 as the Belgian won his fourth Premier League title. He left after the FA Cup win of 2019 and is now manager of Anderlecht, the club where he began his career. They secured European qualification in his second full season. His statue stands in front of the Etihad Stadium.
Joleon Lescott (defender)
Lescott’s five season’s ended in May 2014 with a second Premier League title. He went on to play at West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, AEK Athens and Sunderland before calling it quits with 500 games under his belt. Has been taking his coaching badges and is frequently seen on UK television screens as a pundit.
Gael Clichy (left-back)
After eight years at Arsenal, Frenchman Clichy joined City in 2011/12 and stayed for six seasons. He clocked up 138 starts in that time before heading off to Turkey where he played for three seasons for Istanbul Basaksehir in the Super Lig. In 2020 he joined Swiss side Servette where he is still playing aged 36.
Samir Nasri (midfielder)
Another to join the Blues from Arsenal and he too remained for six seasons, the last of them spent in Spain on loan at Sevilla. He played sporadically after that for Antalyaspor, West Ham and Anderlecht before announcing his retirement in September 2021.
Yaya Toure (midfielder)
The Ivorian, an Africa Cup of Nations and Champions League-winning midfielder, did more than most to elevate City to the top table in world football. Had eight seasons at the Etihad after leaving Barcelona, playing more than 300 games for City. Won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups. He left City in 2018 to play for Olympiacos in Greece but only appeared twice and then moved to China where he started 14 games for Qingdao Huanghai. Now looking to pass his coaching badges.
Gareth Barry (midfielder)
The current record holder for number of Premier League appearances at 653, Barry stayed at City for four seasons and only one more after the Aguero moment. He moved to Everton where he played in the top flight for another four years and then to West Brom for another three. When he retired from football in August 2020, he had played 832 matches. He is now doing occasional punditry.
David Silva (midfielder)
Nicknamed the magician by City fans, the unassuming Spanish World Cup winner was the main man for much of his 10-year stay at the Etihad. Signed from Valencia in 2010, he played 436 times for City winning four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups. At the age of 36 he is still playing at the top level for Real Sociedad in La Liga. A statue of him was unveiled at the stadium last year. He was sent off for the first time in his career in April.
Carlos Tevez (striker)
One of the few players to win trophies at both Manchester clubs, Tevez stayed four years at City scoring 58 times in 113 Premier League starts. He moved to Juventus in 2013, then on to Boca Juniors in his homeland, Argentina. He left for the Chinese Super League in 2017 but later that same year he was back at Boca where he played until last year when he left. As well as the team trophies he won, he was named South American footballer of the year three times. Currently contemplating signing for a new club in Europe as a free agent.
Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero (striker)
The man who will always be remembered for that goal but scored 183 others for City to become the club’s all-time leading scorer and the highest non-English scorer in the history of the Premier League. He is City’s most decorated player in terms of trophies and twice won the top flight’s Golden Boot. He left City after 10 seasons to join Barcelona but played only four times before his career was ended by a heart problem. He is doing some ambassadorial work for City. He recently turned down a chance to help coach Argentina at the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Costel Pantilimon (goalkeeper)
The back-up goalkeeper remained at City for three years, leaving in 2014. He started 29 times during that period. The Romanian had more game time at Sunderland in a two-year stay and then moved to Watford before heading to Spain for a loan and then back to Nottingham Forest. He is currently without a club.
Micah Richards (defender)
Came through the youth team at City and played 245 games over a 10-year period. Turned down a long-term contract at the end of the 2014/15 season and subsequently spent a year at Fiorentina in Italy before four injury-wrecked seasons at Aston Villa. Now works for UK and USA broadcasters and has quickly become one of the best liked and well known pundits on TV. Also has a property business.
Aleks Kolarov (defender)
One of the jokers in the title-winning squad of 2011/12, the Serbian left-back shared duties with Gael Clichy. In all he stayed seven years, the last of them under Pep Guardiola, before moving back to Italy where he was a regular in the Roma side for three years before moving to Inter Milan where he remains.
James Milner (midfielder)
One of the most enduring talents in the Premier League, Milner is currently at Liverpool fighting against City for the Premier League title. The versatile former England international was at City for five seasons before moving to Anfield for the next seven. He is currently approaching 600 appearances in the top division.
Nigel de Jong (midfielder)
Ajax youth product who joined City via Hamburg, the midfield enforcer and World Cup finalist stayed five seasons at the Etihad before falling out of favour and leaving at the end of the 2012/13 campaign. He spent the next four seasons at AC Milan, had a year in the MLS at LA Galaxy, another two seasons at Galatasaray in Turkey and one at Mainz in Germany. He spent the last three seasons of his career in Qatar. He is currently studying on Uefa’s Executive Master for International Players and is a mainstay of football coverage on TV in the Gulf.
Edin Dzeko (striker)
The Bosnian scored the second goal in the famous 3-2 win over QPR, one of 72 goals he netted during a five-year stay at City. He moved to Roma in the summer of 2015 and stayed until the end of last season when he moved to Inter Milan. At the age of 36 he is closing in on 750 career appearances and has scored more than 300 goals. None more important than the one on May 13, 2012.
Mario Balotelli (striker)
The mercurial Italian striker only provided one assist in the 2011/12 season and it happened to be to Sergio Aguero on the final day. City were just one of 11 stops in the striker’s career but he remains loved to this day in Manchester for his goals and his eccentric behaviour. Left City a year after setting his house ablaze with fireworks and Aguero’s heroics and spent two years at AC Milan before popping back to England for a season at Liverpool. Since then he’s been at Nice, Marseille, Brescia, Monza and currently Adana Demirspor where he has scored more than a dozen goals - his best statistical season since 2017/18. It earned him an Italy recall from mentor Roberto Mancini.
Roberto Mancini (manager)
His City stewardship ended abruptly in 2013 after 191 games in charge at the Etihad. He transformed the club into winners after decades in the wilderness but eventually fell out with too many people. He managed Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Zenit St Petersburg before taking over as Italy national team coach in 2018. They set a record for unbeaten games on the way to lifting the European Championship but then failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.