Captain Vincent Kompany has left Manchester City to become player-manager at former club Anderlecht.
The 33-year-old defender has signed a three-year deal with the Belgian club, where he scored five goals in 73 appearances between 2003 to 2006.
Earlier on Sunday, Kompany said Saturday’s 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford was his final game for City.
He won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups in 11 years at Etihad Stadium.
“It’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made,” Kompany, who first joined Anderlecht at the age of six, said in an open letter on Facebook.
“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.”
In the first part of his open letter, Belgium international Kompany said leaving City “doesn’t feel real”.
“Countless of times have I imagined this day,” he said. “After all, the end has felt nearby for so many years.
“Man City has given me everything. I’ve tried to give back as much as I possibly could.”
‘The time has come to go’
Centre-back Kompany joined City from Hamburg as a defensive midfielder in 2008 and was named club captain three years later.
He scored his final goal against Leicester on 6 May, a brilliant strike from 25 yards that was voted goal of the season on BBC Match of the Day.
That win took City to within one win of the Premier League title, which they sealed on the final day of the season with victory at Brighton.
“The time has come for me to go now,” Kompany said.
“As overwhelming as it is, I feel nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful to all those who supported me on a special journey, at a very special club.
“I remember the first day, as clear as I see the last. I remember the boundless kindness I received from the people of Manchester.
“I will never forget how all Man City supporters remained loyal to me in good times and especially bad times. Against the odds, you have always backed me and inspired me to never give up.”
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “There have been many important contributors to Manchester City’s renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany.
“He defines the essence of the club. For a decade he has been the lifeblood, the soul, and beating heart of a supremely talented squad.
“A booming voice in the dressing room yet a quiet and measured ambassador off it, Vincent can be as proud of himself as we are of him.”
Learned a lot from you’ – reaction
Kevin de Bruyne: Playing for about 10 years with this man for club and country. And what an privilege it’s been. Big player, big personality and big leader. Learned a lot from you. Wishing you all the best for the future.
Phil Foden: Looked after me from day one. Led by example, showed everyone what it means to be a leader, wear their heart on the sleeve, and give everything for this club. We will miss you captain
Paul Dickov: City loves you more than you will know
Gary Neville: I didn’t expect that. There are some players you wish played for your club. Vincent Kompany was one of them. A great centre back whose influence on and off the pitch was huge.
Alan Shearer: What a captain and player
Jamie Carragher: One of the best centre-backs the Premier League has ever seen & one of Man City’s greatest ever players!