Manchester City is one of the top clubs in England and became the most successful starting in the early 2010s thanks to five titles in a decade. Man City had a long history before then, too, with some of the top players in the world finding a home with the club.
Of the many players that have worn the Manchester City kit, which ones helped to bolster the club’s prestige the most? Let’s take a look at the top five, with many of them unsurprisingly being more recent players. Before we start the list, some of the more notable players who just missed the cut include Joe Corrigan, Mike Doyle, Bert Trautmann, Kevin De Bruyne, Peter Doherty, and Mike Summerbee.
Alan Oakes was born in the midst of World War II and focused on playing football in the years that followed as a child. In 1958 he became part of Manchester City’s youth program and made his professional debut the following year. Oakes became a mainstay for Man City and was part of the roster for 17 years before spending the bulk of his remaining playing career with Chester into the 1980s.
From his midfield position, Oakes was able to net more than two dozen goals during his Manchester City career. In 1975 he was named the club’s player of the year and he won several team titles to boot. This includes the European Winners’ Cup, the First Division title, an FA Cup, and a pair of Charity Shields.
The first of three non-English-born players on the list is Vincent Kompany, who was born in Uccle, Belgium, and spent his early career in his home country. Kompany played for both Anderlecht and Hamburger SV prior to 2008 when he joined Manchester City and would play for the club for more than a decade. He returned to Anderlecht for his final year between 2019-2020.
The center-back wasn’t a prolific goalscorer from his position, but was still able to net nearly 20 goals during his Man City career. Thanks to Kompany’s performance, Man City won four Premier League titles during his tenure, as well as two FA Cups, two Community Shields, and a whopping four EFL Cups. In 2022, Kompany was named to the Premier League Hall of Fame, a decade after winning the league’s Player of the Season.
Spanish native David Silva was brought into the professional ranks by Valencia where he spent all of the 2000s. When the 2010s started, he joined Manchester City and stayed for the entire decade before heading to Real Sociedad. Silva sits just outside of the top 10 for all-time matches played with Manchester City with 390.
Silva, even as a midfielder, scored more than five dozen goals for Manchester City in his career. Man City won the Premier League four times with David Silva, as well as the EFL Cup five times. He was named the 2016-17 Manchester City Player of the Season and the one-time EPL Player of the Month also helped the club win the FA Cup twice.
Born in Hesleden, England, Colin Bell made his professional debut with Bury and was with the club for three years. He then joined Manchester City in 1966 and remained on the roster for 13 years before playing five matches at the end of his career with the San Jose Earthquakes in the United States. Bell ranks fifth in Man City history with 493 matches in total.
Bell is also in the top five for all-time goals scored with 153, putting him at number four on the list. With Bell, Manchester City won the First Division once, the UEFA Winners’ Cup once, and the FA Cup once. He was the club’s top scorer in four different years, and Bell was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
The top player on the list is Sergio Aguero, the Argentinian who began his European career playing for Atletico Madrid from 2006 to 2011. He then joined Manchester City, playing with the club for a decade before wrapping up his career in 2021 with Barcelona. While Aguero may not have had as many matches as some of the players on the list, he certainly had a massive impact.
Aguero ranks first all-time in goals with 260, putting him more than 80 ahead of anybody else. Aguero helped propel Man City to five Premier League titles and the 2019 FA Cup. During that time, Aguero won the Premier League Golden Boot and was the player of the month several times. In 2022, Aguero was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.