The Belgian defender believes that the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid is the biggest in the world, but Monday's clash against the Red Devils comes second
The two sides battling at the top of the Premier League face each other on Monday night, and the Belgium international says that it is the biggest game in the world after clashes between the Spanish giants.
"It's impossible not to know about the derbies," he told The Guardian.
"Before you join the club you find out about the victories and I guess [the Manchester derby] has become, after El Clasico, the biggest game in the world in a league competition.
"When it comes to this, we have experience of these big games. But it's crazy, and you don't want to know that there will be 400 million people watching the game.
"It's the phone calls as well, it's everything. Not just from here but from China, America, all over: it is ridiculous the amount of people who are into this game, you can't imagine."
The former Hamburg player does not, however, believe Monday’s game will decide the destination of the title and this season.
He added: "We lost points because other teams played well and they were difficult to play against.
"The same thing happened to United. So I'm more of the opinion that it won't stop at Monday. I hope after that we're talking about [the following weekend] and how big that game will be, and how big the QPR and Sunderland games will be."
The City captain also admits that his job of controlling a dressing room containing the likes of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez can be tough.
"I won't deny it's not a challenge," he said
"I wouldn't name individuals, but the team generally is one full of great characters – I love the team for this reason.
"I've not played at any club, successful or not, where there has been no tension at some stage in training.
"We usually find out about it later, via the press, apparently there's a problem between us guys – but it's never like this."