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Zinchenko: I cried when I found out Kompany was leaving

00:30 EAT 22/07/2019
Vincent Kompany Manchester City
The versatile Ukrainian admits he was taken by surprise when the Manchester City captain announced his departure after completing a domestic treble

Oleksandr Zinchenko admits he cried when he found out Vincent Kompany would be leaving Manchester City and says that the Belgian could well return to the Etihad Stadium as manager one day.

Kompany stunned City fans with the announcement that he would be leaving the club after 11 years to take up a position as player-manager with his first club Anderlecht, with that statement coming after City clinched the FA Cup to secure an unprecedented domestic treble.

Zinchenko confirmed that he knew nothing of Kompany’s decision until after the cup final, where City demolished Watford 6-0.

“I was crying because nobody was expecting that,” Zinchenko said. “But that’s football, nobody knows what could happen.

“I would like to stay in touch with him. For me he is absolutely a life legend. I am so lucky.

“Last season he was helping me a lot. Outside the pitch, inside the pitch, about this position.

“I remember a few times he took me after some training sessions, he was working with me around 40 minutes or something to try and help me.”

Pep Guardiola is contracted at City until 2021 but Zinchenko sees no reason why former team-mate Kompany could not take up the coaching job some time down the line.

“Why not?” he said. “He can be that. He is the smartest guy who I know.”

It has been a stunning turnaround for Zinchenko at City, as this time last year it appeared he was on his way out of the club with a transfer to Wolves heavily mooted.

Now after City faced Wolves in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Shanghai, Zinchenko goes into the season as first-choice left back having signed a fresh long-term contract in June.

“That’s a massive dream, to be part of the squad, to be part of this huge family” he said.

“I was dreaming about that, now you just have to work a lot because hard work is important.

“Every single day you have to show your level in the training sessions and the games and you have to fight for your place. This is first step, to become number one, then the most important to stay there. Football is crazy, everything can change like that.

“You can be top today but tomorrow, again, again and again, you have to work a lot.”

Zinchenko will wear the No. 11 shirt for City this upcoming season but insists there is no special significance attached to that choice and that he is comfortable at left-back or further up the field, where he plays for Ukraine.

“In the national team I play in the middle, in Manchester City at left-back, so I feel comfortable both sides,” he said.

“I think that’s good for all football players, when you can play different positions.”

Although City swept the board on the domestic front last season. Zinchenko says there are still steps to take in order to improve, not least in the Champions League where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Tottenham.

“We are still improving ourselves,” he said. “We are on the right way, so we will see what happens this season but definitely we are going to work a lot on it.

“We were upset about the Champions League because we deserved more.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko was speaking at the Manchester City fanzone at PUMA’s flagship store in Shanghai, during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia.