We can’t believe six former Manchester City players are still playing in 2021

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There is perhaps no other top club in the world that has undergone such a dramatic transformation in the past 15 years as Manchester City.

As a result of this transformation, there has been a substantial turnover of players.

Some of those who entered have become legends of the club; Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Sergio Agüero. Others, especially those who arrived during the transitional periods of Sven Goran Eriksson, Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini, were quickly deemed insufficient and moved on.

Still, some of those who were made redundant continued their long careers elsewhere and some of them, to our surprise, are still going strong. We’ve picked six former City stars, it’s hard to believe they’re still playing professionally in 2021.

Valery Bojinov

“Our signing of Valeri is another sign of the impact of Dr Thaksin Shiniwatra and Sven-Goran Eriksson,” City General Manager Alistair Mackintosh said when Bojinov signed from Fiorentina for a four-year contract in 2007. ” Valeri is an exciting young player, and a great addition to the squad.

Unfortunately for Bojinov and City, this is not how it turned out. A knee ligament injury less than a month after his signing ruined his first season at the club. An injury to Achilles a year later ruined his second. And that was about it.

Eleven appearances over two years were followed by a loan to Parma, which signed it definitively in 2010, before selling it a year later and giving rise to a real football odyssey.

Bojinov has played in Portugal, Switzerland, China, Croatia, for five different clubs in Italy and two in his native Bulgaria, where he is now on his third stint with Levski Sofia at 35.

Jo

Jo was supposed to be the next big player when he signed for City in 2008 – a Brazilian forward who won his domestic league alongside Carlos Tevez as a teenager and scored 30 goals in 53 league appearances in Russia with the CSKA.

But it turned out that Jo liked the bubbly pop and disco dancing more than he liked the Manchester drizzle workouts. A disastrous first season was followed by a loan spell at Everton, where he very briefly showed what it was all about. It didn’t last and City sent him back to Brazil in 2011.

In 2012, Jo joined Atletico Mineiro and won the Copa Libertadores alongside Ronaldinho, but other nights out in Belo Horizonte, also alongside Ronaldinho, saw his form drop again.

Yet when it looked like Jo’s career might be over after a shoddy stint in China, he found Jesus – at the back of the couch, maybe? – and changed his life.

Out of booze and on the right path, he returned to the Corinthians and led them to another national title, 12 years after his first. A stint in Japan followed, but he’s now back at the Corinthians and was recently joined in attack by ex-Chelsea player Willian.

Vladimir weiss

Weiss was part of the formidable young City side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2008, playing alongside Daniel Sturridge, and we were excited when he broke through. He looked skillful, quick and smart, nipping like a shiny-headed sprat during City’s attack.

Our excitement was short-lived. Weiss never lived up to the rigors of the Premier League and was sold to Pescara in 2012. A season in Greece followed before seven years in the Qatar Stars League.

Now 31, he is back in Slovakia with Slovan Bratislava and has accumulated 74 international caps, including three under-appearances at Euro 2020.

Roque Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz scored his first goal for Olimpia in October 1998. Santa Cruz scored his last goal for Olimpia in August 2021. How do you like that for longevity?

He has also had a meteoric career between the two: five Bundesliga titles, 114 Paraguay caps, this season with Blackburn, a very fun time with Malaga. Oh yeah, and a slightly disappointing fate for City as well.

Now 40 and coming off the bench with remarkable frequency for his club Asuncion, Santa Cruz has taken on the appearance of a grizzled Zen master with long hair and beard, which seems fitting.

Mario balotelli

Oh, Mario, what could have been. All the talent, all the charisma. That damn wonderful t-shirt.

Then a series of rather mediocre passages in less and less prestigious clubs. He’s 31 now, playing for newly promoted Adana Demirspor in the Turkish top tier and still getting a little awkward.

We will always love him, if only for having the temerity to score with his shoulder in a real Premier League football game …

READ: Celebrating Mario Balotelli’s ‘shoulder goal’, one of * the * PL’s big moments

Maicon

The absolute definition of a marauding Brazilian full-back, Maicon was already considered a bit old and outdated when he arrived at City in 2012, mainly because of the run Gareth Bale gave him in the Champions League in November 2010. .

This has proven to be very much the case at City, with Maicon only making 13 appearances during his season at the Etihad. He had a bit of a resurgence in Rome over the next three seasons and then returned to his homeland.

Remarkably, however, this return to Brazil was not the end. In 2020 he returned to Italy to move up and down the line in Serie D and in the summer of 2021 he moved to Tre Penne which may look like a light pasta dish but is actually a football club in San Marino.

Maicon even made it to this year’s Europa League first qualifying round, but couldn’t help his new side avoid a 7-0 loss to powerful Dinamo Batumi.


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