Man City Team of the Decade: Hart edges out Ederson

Joe Hart Ederson Manchester City
With 2020 approaching, Goal picked out the greatest players to wear the blue shirt at the Etihad Stadium over the past 10 years

  1. GK: Joe Hart

    GK: Joe Hart

    The latter part of the decade has been tough for Joe Hart, so it’s easy to forget what a huge part he played in much of Man City’s earlier success.

    Signed from Shrewsbury Town as a 19-year-old, he spent 10 years at the club, amassing 348 appearances.

    Hart was first-choice goalkeeper for both Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, playing a played a key role in two Premier League title triumphs, in 2012 and 2014.

    Along the way there were some remarkable individual performances, not least in a 1-0 loss at Barcelona in 2015, when Lionel Messi shook his head in amazement at some of the saves pulled off by a man he described as "a phenomenon”.

    Ultimately, Hart didn’t fit in with Pep Guardiola’s philosophy, but his contribution to a golden decade for the club should not be overlooked.

  2. RB: Pablo Zabaleta

    RB: Pablo Zabaleta

    Pablo Zabaleta could not hold back the tears when he said an emotional farewell after nine years at City in 2017.

    The Argentine built a remarkable bond with the fans over the course of 333 appearances for the club.

    He was an adopted Mancunian, electing to live in the city while many of his team-mates chose rural Cheshire, and was regularly spotted at his local fish and chip shop.

    But it was his warrior spirit that endeared him most to the fans, as he often seemed to finish matches with a bandage wrapped around his head or cotton wool shoved up a bloody nose.

    While there have been more gifted players at City over the past decade, none were more committed to the cause than Zabaleta.

  3. CB: Vincent Kompany
    Getty Images

    CB: Vincent Kompany

    Every successful team of the Premier League era has had a leader that sets the example on and off the pitch. At City, that man was Vincent Kompany.

    His intelligence away from the field was matched his cleverness on it, and he played a pivotal role in four title-winning campaigns.

    Kompany was a masterful defender but also demonstrated incredible determination in overcoming the persistent muscle injuries that blighted his final years at the club to make 360 appearances in total.

    He was also the man for the big occasion.

    Kompany scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory over rivals Manchester United in the tight 2012 title race and an incredible 25-yard strike in his final game at the Etihad Stadium, against Leicester City, just as City looked like to lose top spot to Liverpool.

  4. CB: Aymeric Laporte

    CB: Aymeric Laporte

    The French defender has been at City for fewer than two years but has made a huge impression during that time.

    After initially declining a switch to the Etihad, his quality and potential prompted a rare u-turn from Guardiola by making a second move for a player that had turned him down.

    Neither the manager nor the player regretted the decision and he played a key part in both of Guardiola’s title-winning seasons with his strong defending and controlled passing out from the back.

    With a contract that runs until 2025, Laporte is set to have an even bigger future at the club.

    The only question is, will French national manager Didier Deschamps finally see what everyone else sees and finally give him an international cap.

  5. LB: Aleksandar Kolarov

    LB: Aleksandar Kolarov

    With his fierce left-footed shots and questionable singing on the club's Christmas videos, Aleksandar Kolarov became a cult figure in his seven years at the Etihad.

    During that time he won two league titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup from his 247 appearances for the club.

    It would have been more but for a battle for regular starts with Gael Clichy, with both having regularly been in a position to claim that they were City's first-choice left-back.

    Kolarov just about gets the nod in our team of the decade because of his greater goal threat, with the Serbian netting 21 times and claiming 37 assists for the club.

  6. DM: Fernandinho

    DM: Fernandinho

    Some questioned the wisdom of paying £30m ($38m) for a 28-year-old defensive midfielder in 2013.

    City, though, were convinced by Fernandinho's qualities and encouraged by his determination to move to the Etihad, with the Brazil international waiving the £4m ($5m) owed to him by Shakhtar Donetsk to make the deal happen.

    He was a regular starter under Pellegrini, providing a base in midfield where his reading of the game proved vital at stopping counter-attacks.

    And his game took another leap forward under Guardiola, who has praised Fernandinho's intelligence and described him as one of the best three holding midfielders in the world.

  7. CM: Yaya Toure
    Getty Images

    CM: Yaya Toure

    Persuading Yaya Toure to leave Barcelona and move to Manchester was a huge statement of intent by City and they were rewarded with the best years of a brilliant career.

    Within 12 months, the Ivorian had ended the club’s 35-year wait for a major trophy by scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final.

    But his form got better and better as he made vital contributions in City's first title-winning season, in 2011-12.

    Two years later, he won another title as he became only the second midfielder in Premier League history, after Frank Lampard, to score 20 goals in a season.

    There was controversy too. Fall-outs over failing to receiving a birthday cake and a three-month hiatus until he publicly apologised to Guardiola blotted his stay but they only made Toure's time at the Etihad all the more unforgettable.

  8. CM: David SIlva

    CM: David SIlva

    Possibly the greatest Premier League player of the decade.

    David Silva arrived from Valencia in 2010 but after an underwhelming start in a Europa League qualifier against Timisoara, there were concerns as to whether the slight Spaniard could cut it in the Premier League.

    Within a month, those doubts were gone as City fans realised what an incredible player they had signed.

    Silva has glided through 10 seasons in England with a masterful touch, poise and vision that has earned him the nickname ‘El Mago’ ('The magician').

    To put his greatness into perspective, not only is he City’s joint most decorated player alongside Kompany, he has won 125 caps for an incredible Spain team that won a World Cup and two European Championships.

  9. FW: Kevin De Bruyne

    FW: Kevin De Bruyne

    Kevin De Bruyne left Chelsea in 2014 without having made an impression on the Premier League but returned to England two years later, to join City, as the complete attacking midfielder.

    The Belgian racked up 50 assists in the Premier League quicker than any other player in history, reaching the tally in just 123 matches – 18 fewer than the previous record-holder, Mesut Ozil.

    A highlights reel of his passes is as entertaining as any striker’s goal collection and shows why De Bruyne has been such a pivotal player for Guardiola's City.

  10. FW: Sergio Aguero

    FW: Sergio Aguero

    After joining in 2011, Sergio Aguero has rewritten City's goalscoring record books.

    He has become the club's leading all-time scorer, equalled Alan Shearer’s tally of 11 Premier League hat-tricks and is now the greatest non-European goalscorer in English football history.

    It’s all been based on an extraordinary level of consistency that has seen him score 20-plus goals in six of his eight seasons.

    But Aguero will be forever remembered for delivering the greatest ever Premier League moment. 

    His dramatic, injury-time winner against QPR on the final day of the season ended the club’s 44-year wait for the title and changed the course of the club's history.

  11. FW: Raheem Sterling

    FW: Raheem Sterling

    Raheem Sterling didn’t make it easy for himself when he completed a controversial move from Liverpool in 2015.

    The winger initially had his critics at the Etihad, not helped by equally mixed form for England, but his rate of improvement has been phenomenal.

    His finishing was a constant source of complaints but the stats now show how far he has developed, with Sterling scoring more than 20 goals in each of the past two seasons.

    This remarkable and rapid improvement – coupled with the integral role he is playing in the fight against racism – resulted in him being named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year last season.

  12. Honourable mentions

    Honourable mentions

    Carlos Tevez was an iconic signing when he moved from city rivals Manchester United and played in a key part in altering the course of the 2012 title race when he returned to the squad after a row with Roberto Mancini.

    Edin Dzeko was also a contender for a forward berth, with 72 goals in 189 appearances for the club.

    Mario Balotelli more often made headlines for his actions off the field. On it, he fluctuated between fantastic and frustrating but had some notable moments, including his pass for Aguero's title-winning goal and his 'Why Always Me?' strike at Old Trafford. 

    Elsewhere, Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong were unsung heroes in the centre of midfield, while Ederson and Bernardo Silva would have come into the reckoning had they been at the club longer.

  13. How they line up

    How they line up

    So, there you have it, our Manchester City Team of the Decade!

    But what do you make of our selections? Are there any glaring omissions, in your opinion?

    Post your thoughts – and your own line-ups – in the comments..