Micah Richards burst onto the scene through Manchester City’s academy ranks with his famous last-minute FA Cup equaliser against Aston Villa back in 2006, going on to swear in his post match interview due to his excitement, with supporters quickly taking to his friendly and personable nature.
Going on to cement his place in the team under Stuart Pearce as the Citizens’ first choice right-back, it was clear he was going to be a star for years to come, displaying an extraordinarily athletic build, pace, power and defensive maturity for his age.
Once Pearce headed out the exit door at the end of the 2006/2007 season, Richards really came into his own – partnering fellow cult hero Richard Dunne at centre-half during Sven Goran-Eriksson’s reign and earning his first ever international call-up, scoring a bullet header against Israel at Wembley.
The Englishman eventually became a real fan favourite over the course of his decade-long stay with the blues, making 246 appearances and helping to win their first pieces of silverware during the dawn of the Sheikh Mansour era – hoisting the 2011 FA Cup aloft with an historic first Premier League title in 44 years just one season later.
He did this alongside fellow club legend Vincent Kompany, who contributed hugely to City’s trophy haul over the last ten seasons. He played under three different managers and won a grand total of four league titles, four League Cups, three Community Shields and two FA cups in that time.
However, speaking in an interview as part of a Bwin campaign, Richards has revealed that his teammates and himself didn’t exactly have the best first impression of Kompany’s ability following his arrival at the Etihad in 2008.
“Defensive signings, I think the first person who took us to the next level was Vincent Kompany,” explained the 31-year-old.
“The first memory of Kompany, we all thought, I’m not going to say average but just a good midfielder. But in training he had really good skills and stuff, but his shooting was awful.
“You could see Aguero saying like ‘Pass, pass the ball’. That’s the sort of player he is, in the big games he performs.
“He is, for me, one of City’s best ever defenders.”
Of course, over the years, it’s clear the Belgian had a chance to practice his shooting – made evident by his winning goal against Leicester back in May, when he drove an unstoppable shot into the top corner past Kasper Schmeichel to win City a crucial game in the Premier League title race.
With Kompany now plying his trade in a player-coach capacity at Anderlecht, and Richards having retired from the game due to a niggling knee problem, Sky Blues supporters can now fondly look back at the legacy these star men have left behind.