Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola pays tribute to 'legend' Vincent Kompany and 'exceptional' Burnley ahead of FA Cup quarter-final
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The Spaniard had previously stated that the Burnley boss' destiny was "written in the stars" after the pair were drawn against each other in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup.
They had spent three seasons together at the Etihad, winning five titles, which included the domestic treble in Kompany's final term at City in 2018-19.
Now the pair go head-to-head as coaches for the first time, as the Champions League quarter-finalists take on the Championship leaders for the prize of a trip to Wembley on the line.
With the Clarets ever-so-close to rubber-stamping their immediate return to the Premier League, losing just twice in 37 games to storm 13 points clear at the top, Guardiola said: "Maybe he doesn't agree with me, but having seen his teams I'm more than convinced today he's going to come back. It's going to happen!
"It's nice he's back, but over the last two or three days I've been thinking about what they've done this season. What I saw didn't make me totally surprised about the position they're in, being so close to being a Premier League team next year already.
"Seeing what they do more closely, I understand it completely. They will be really, really tough because they do incredible things on the pitch.
"They have a good team — and the way they play is exceptional."
Kompany served City as a player for 11 years, including eight as captain, securing 10 pieces of silverware, amassing 360 appearances across the board, and helping the club becoming one of Europe's most dominant forces.
Guardiola acknowledges that the four-time Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month is a City legend in every sense of the word, for everything he brought both on and off the pitch.
It was only fitting that his final kick at the Etihad, which was the only goal of the game against Leicester City, all-but sealed the final of his four PL titles. "Everybody knows he was an incredibly important figure here," he said.
"He's one of the biggest legends the club has had. Personally, I have one regret which is that he was injured a lot of the time when I was here.
"But the important thing is how he helped me since day one. I arrived here from another country, didn't know the Premier League, and in the bad moments, his influence on the dressing room always helped the team make steps forward.
"To me, he said the things he thought was best for the club. He was an exceptional captain, a top human being. On the other side, I'm a little bit concerned because when you start playing games with the other manager on the touchline being a player you had, you realise how old you are becoming."