Dubai: Manchester City have illustrated their ambition to conquer Europe by assembling the first billion-euro squad, according to a report by the CIES Football Observatory.
Premier League champions City, who were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, won an unprecedented domestic treble in England last season and have spent have spent €1.014 billion euros (Dh4.112 billion) on their current crop of players, illustrating their owners’ commitment to establishing themselves among the elite of Europe for the long-term future and pursue their long-held ambition of winning the Uefa Champions League.
They spent 32 times the amount Premier League minnows outplayed by Norwich City, the report found.
Paris St-Germain (€913 million) and Real Madrid (€902 million) are second and third on the list. Manchester United (€751 million) are fourth in the spending charts, ahead of Juventus, Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea. Atletico Madrid and Arsenal round out the top 10.
CIES is a Swiss statistics research group and they analysed the senior players in each squad of every team in Europe’s top four leagues — England, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Meanwhile, Vincent Kompany is eagerly looking forward to his testimonial on Wednesday night, as it will allow him the chance to say a proper farewell to the City fans, who have cheered him on over 11 glittering years at the Etihad.
The Belgian left City in the summer to become player-manager of boyhood club Anderlecht. He will return to Manchester for a special one-off game, which will see a City Legends XI take on a Premier League All Stars side. The game will be shown live on Abu Dhabi Sports 2 from 10.15pm UAE time on Wednesday.
Past greats for City such as Joe Hart, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko will be in action against Premier League legends such as Ryan Giggs, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.
“I had such a special time at City and it’s a great chance to say goodbye (to the fans),” Kompany said.
“We had such a special time. They have been great to me and I have always given everything to them, and this game is a little bit for them.
“I want to use every opportunity on the day to thank them though the testimonial is not so much about myself.
“It’s for a key charity too which is really important.”
Proceeds from the game will go to help raise funds for the Tackle4Mcr charity initiative which aims to alleviate the issue of homelessness in the city.
City Legend, Micah Richards, who was recently in the UAE for the Trophy Tour, said: “This is shaping up to be a brilliant game and hopefully as many people in the Middle East as possible will get to see it live. The line-ups on both sides are excellent and it is a fitting way to honour a man who has been such an important part of Manchester City.”
City Legends XI
Joe Hart, Costel Pantilimon, Vincent Kompany, Aleksander Kolarov, Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Kolo Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Richard Dunne, Gael Clichy, Nigel De Jong, Samir Nasri, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland, David Silva, Dietmar Hamann, James Milner, Craig Bellamy, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Benjani
Premier League All Stars
Edwin Van der Sar, Shay Given, Phil Neville, Gary Neville, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Rafael van der Vaart, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie.