MANCHESTER CITY were yet to win their first Premier League title when they debuted in the Champions League against Napoli nearly a decade ago.
But Roberto Mancini’s side was already brimming with players that would write their names into the club’s history books.
It took the Sky Blues a while to get to grips with life at Europe’s top table, famously failing to reach the quarter-finals in any of their first four attempts.
But, having reached this year’s semi-finals courtesy of last night’s 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund, and with a good chance of finally winning the tournament – what better time to remember those that started their journey?
City drew 1-1 with Napoli at Etihad Stadium on September 14, 2011 – as Aleksandar Kolarov’s 75th minute free-kick cancelled out Edinson Cavani’s opener.
Let’s take a look at who started for the Citizens that chilly night.
Joe Hart was immense for City during the 2011-12 season, as Mancini’s men won their first Premier League title in the most dramatic of fashions.
The 75-cap England goalkeeper would go on to win the league again in 2014, before being forced out by Pep Guardiola following a decline in form.
Hart, now 33, has since played for Torino, West Ham and Burnley – before joining Tottenham as back-up last summer.
Excellent Argentine starred for Manchester City for nine years, making 333 appearances in the process.
Right-back Zabaleta, now 36, left City in 2017, following Guardiola’s first season at the club.
Three years with West Ham followed, before he hung up his boots last October.
The first of four stand-out legends in this starting XI, skipper Vincent Kompany was Mr. Man City for 11 years, following his arrival from Hamburg in 2008.
Kompany’s last four years at the Etihad were littered with injuries, but he provided one last memorable moment in his final season, scoring a screamer against Leicester on the way to his fourth Premier League title with the club.
He left to become head coach of Anderlecht in Belgium, before hanging up his boots last summer to focus on his management, now aged 35.
Joleon Lescott played 31 of City’s 38 games on the way to their first Premier League title in the 2011-12 season.
Another triumph would follow in 2014, before moves to West Brom, Aston Villa, AEK Athens and Sunderland – eventually hanging up his boots in 2017.
He is often seen now as a pundit, but nearly came out of retirement aged 38 last November to play for Spanish third-tier side Racing Murcia in a Copa del Rey match against Levante – before the agreement fell through because of a misunderstanding.
Serbian Aleksandar Kolarov was known for his brilliant left-foot, with its quality on show for all to see that night against Napoli.
He vied with Gael Clichy for the left-back starting spot for seven years at the Etihad – before leaving at the same time as the Frenchman when he joined AS Roma in 2017.
Kolarov, now 35, currently turns out for Inter Milan, having joined for just £1.35million last summer.
Another bona fide City legend, ‘El Mago’ dazzled delighted fans at the Etihad for ten glorious years, before deciding to leave for Real Sociedad last summer.
Silva, 35, won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups across his 436 appearances for City.
And the winning hasn’t stopped, as he added the Copa del Rey to his collection with Sociedad earlier this month.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League, Yaya Toure became a fan favourite at Manchester City between 2010 and 2018.
The Ivorian starred on the way to three league titles, and also scored stunning goals in the 2011 FA Cup final and 2014 League Cup final.
After a brief spell at Olympiacos in 2018, he joined Qingdao Huanghai in China League One, winning a league title there before shocking fans by training with Leyton Orient last summer. He is now assistant manager at Ukrainian side Olympik Donetsk.
Steady midfielder Gareth Barry was a mainstay as City won their first title, and stayed for another year before joining Everton, initially on loan.
After four years at Goodison Park he joined West Bromwich Albion, where he would break the Premier League record for most appearances, finishing 21 ahead of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.
Barry, now 40, hung up his boots last August, and can now be seen doing punditry work on BT Sport.
French maverick Samir Nasri joined City from Arsenal in 2011 and would show off his silky skills for six years at Etihad Stadium.
Having played on loan at Sevilla, Nasri joined Turkish side Antalyaspor in 2017, before having his spell curtailed by a doping ban.
After completing his suspension, he reunited with former Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini, and then Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, but has not played since leaving the Belgians last year – despite being only 33.
Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko would go on to score a crucial equaliser as City beat QPR 3-2 on the final day to seal the Premier League’s most dramatic title.
Dzeko would play for City for another three seasons, before joining AS Roma, initially on loan.
Now 35, he still resides in the Italian capital, having been a hit at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring 116 goals in 251 appearances – including 39 in the 2016-17 season.
Sergio Aguero would write his name into football folklore at the end of that season, by scoring the most dramatic goal in Premier League history in the dying embers of that match against QPR.
And the Argentine has continued to go from strength to strength for City, with his tally in Sky Blue now up to 257.
Upon the news that he will leave City at the end of the season, the club confirmed that a statue will be built to commemorate their greatest ever striker – while he could join up with pal Lionel Messi at Barcelona this summer.
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