Vincent Kompany is rejoining Anderlecht as player-manager having left Manchester City after 11 years at the club.
The Belgian centre back will be returning to his homeland to take up the role and kick start the next phase of his career.
Kompany played his final game for City in the FA Cup final win over Watford on Saturday and the shock announcement was made less than 24 hours later.
Kompany, 33, was unveiled by Anderlecht on their Twitter page with a clip featuring the words: ‘The Prince is back’ and ‘he’s coming home’.
His former side were in sixth place going into their final game of the season on Sunday and will hope a returning hero can reverse their fortunes next season.
The veteran defender first joined Anderlecht as a six-year-old and later signed his first professional contract before leaving for Hamburg. He returns having won 10 trophies in 11 years at City.
In the second part of an open letter to fans explaining his departure, he outlined the future.
‘For the next 3 years, I will take up the role of Player-Manager of RSC Anderlecht. Belgium’s finest,’ he wrote.
‘This may come as a surprise to you. It’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made.
As a footballer, I was born and raised at RSC Anderlecht. Since the age of 6, I have been one with that club. A history of 34 league titles, they are second to none.
‘The background to this story… Belgian entrepreneur Marc Coucke acquired the club from the Vanden Stock family in December 2017. What followed was a post take-over set back for a club that seemed robust but proved fragile. Although the take-over triggered a positive new vibe, sporting results did not follow.
‘I stopped at their training ground on my way to international duty last year. Just to say hello. Coucke, the chairman, and Sports Director Michael Verschueren asked my opinion regarding the difficult situation the club was in.
‘I shared my thoughts and listened to their vision for the future: ambitious, courageous and determined to get back to No 1. I offered my help, no strings attached, should they need it.
‘Later on in the season, newly appointed Technical Director Frank Arnesen joined and we organized some technical sessions on how to build a strong playing identity based on attractive, attacking football. RSCA has a tradition of having fantastic youth. You could say they have the past and the future, but struggle with the present.
The end of this season couldn’t be more memorable. I have lived the dream here. I have learned so much the last three years. From an incredible manager. Pep Guardiola reignited my love for the game.
‘I’ve witnessed, participated, analyzed, absorbed, studied. Man City play the football I want to play. It is the football I want to teach and to see played.
‘I have decided to take up the challenge at RSC Anderlecht. Player-Manager. I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations. With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium.
‘This is no goodbye. It’s a see you later. Et pour les Mauves, voor alle Anderlecht fans: tot binnenkort, à très bientôt. Love, Vincent.’