The Manchester City captain talks frankly about the bad course he virtually made as a girl, lunatic politicians and life after football
It is 10 am working on an early spring day when I haul up at the electric doors of Vincent Kompany’s home. In the sprinkle, the Manchester sprawl has given way to the leafy streets of Cheshire, where long driveways announce the stately houses of the affluent. Kompany answers the door in a black T-shirt and jeans, having just finished a workout. It’s March, and Manchester City’s battle-hardened captain and central champion is only now returning to fitness after a six-week layoff for a calf injury.” I wasn’t feeling a great job, so an extra session in the gym is the way to get through it ,” he says, a towel draped around his neck, his gentle Belgian accent blending with Manc vowels.
At 6ft 4in, Kompany’s stature is reassuring rather than intimidating. He induces light-green juice in a whizzy little machine that the players are testing.” Sometimes I have a berry one as a treat ,” he says, straightening up. We make them into his home office, where we talk for the next two hours. A whiteboard tagged out with a football move stands against one wall. On the top sequence of his bookshelves, mementoes line up like toy soldiers; below them are accounts of Mandela, Gandhi, Obama; histories of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “the two countries ” that Kompany’s father, Pierre, left as a government refugee in 1975; profiles of Sir Alex Ferguson and Kompany’s teammate Sergio Aguero.
At 33, Kompany is one of the Premier League’s elder politicians, an erudite, multidimensional musician with as much to contribute off the pitching as on. This season is his 11 th with City, a milestone for any professional jock, and in the months adopting our interrogation he will contribute the fraternity to its ninth major trophy since he ratified, trouncing Brighton 4-1. But it will be his prodigious 30 -yard strike against Leicester City that poppings the stopper on the Premier League title observances, in the penultimate play of the season: a thunderbolt, delivered with artful timing, by the defender dubbed Captain Fantastic. It’s a few moments that registers Kompany’s strength of character, neglecting his administrator and teammates as they ask him not to attempt such an brash hit – his first purpose from outside the box since 2013.” Where is it you people want your bronze, Vincent Kompany ?” roared Gary Neville from the Sky commentary box.