As restaurant tables are booked, cards with teddy bear and red heart designs are written out, and flowers are ordered and delivered to partners all over the region, thousands of Manchester City supporters will be spending the day with their true love. They’ll be heading to the Etihad to see what happens when Tottenham visit — with the hope their beloveds can turn around Saturday’s defeat against Leicester and get their season back on track.
With a great deal of trepidation about how much this article reveals my taste in men, here is a Valentine’s Day special: The top ten best-looking players that have represented the club since the takeover in 2008. If you make it to the end, I almost guarantee you’ll disagree with me.
Don’t say ever Typical City doesn’t cover all audiences – it’s time to play Fantasy Football, but in a whole new way.
10 – Joe Hart
Signed by Stuart Pearce in 2006 as a youngster for mere buttons in the modern market, the blonde bombshell has gone on to establish himself in the first team to the point of recently becoming the club’s record Premier League appearance-maker. He’s gone on to perform well for his country and become a poster-boy for the national team – and understandably so with his ever-so-handsome face. There wouldn’t be too many who turned down a roll around the goalmouth with one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League – though it’s still difficult to watch his Head & Shoulders commercials.
9 – David Silva
Ranked as one of the best ever players in Manchester City history, David Silva is always easy on the eye. Whether it’s his luscious looks or his footballing skills – or both – that you admire, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the little playmaker. His hair bounces perfectly as he jogs and the mole on his chin offers a cuteness well below his years. At £25m spent in 2010, he’s proven value for money throughout his City career – in more aspects than one.
8 – Javi Garcia
The Spanish heartthrob struggled to settle in Manchester when he arrived in the summer of 2012. He instantly got the pulse racing, however, and got off the mark on his debut with an equalising header against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium – though his career slowed quickly after that. Homesickness reportedly played a part in a string of below-par performances, before he won the fans around and held a spot in the centre of midfield for the title run-in through April and May 2014. He joined Zenit St Petersburg the following summer after a two-year stint with the Blues – with many left pining for his beard to return.
7 – Sergio Aguero
Many confirmed heterosexual men say they would happily “go gay” for the Argentine striker, should he ever be interested. That’s largely down to his achievements on the pitch for City and how instrumental he was in ending the 44-year wait for the title, and in lifting the FA Cup, the League Cup and another top-flight championship since his arrival in 2011. With a smile to die for and arm muscles that show off the wonders that a tight football kit can do, there’s plenty for the fans to cheer about.
6 – Kasper Schmeichel
With just two starts and one substitute appearance following the 2008 takeover, the Dane is only just eligible for inclusion on this list – but he’s more than worth his while being here. Kasper Schmeichel’s best years have undoubtedly come away from the Etihad, as he’s currently part of a Leicester team that’s been defying the odds since the start of the season. His City highlights include a clean sheet in a Manchester derby win and penalty save from Robin Van Persie at the Emirates, both pre-takeover.
5 – Javier Garrido
An often forgotten City defender, Javier Garrido went from dependable to useless to decent through his career at Eastlands – and he had the good looks to go with it all the way through. His debut came under Sven Goran Eriksson in 2007 and he continued in the team through the Mark Hughes era, where he struggled for form, before he went through a resurgence under Roberto Mancini in the Italian’s first half season. The Spaniard had an eye for a free kick and notched up a couple of notable ones against Liverpool and Wolves in his time with the Blues.
4 – Edin Dzeko
The Bosnian had a weird relationship with City fans. He was considered very frustrating to watch at times, but also well known as a goalscorer and, throughout his years with the club, he netted at some very crucial periods. His first, a toe-poke at Notts County, got the Blues back into the tie and earned an FA Cup replay in the year they won the competition. He equalised against QPR in the famous title-winning game and he fired his side to the championship following injury to Sergio Aguero in 2014. Who could ever forget that rainy night against Aston Villa?
3 – Roque Santa Cruz
Taking the bronze medal is a man who probably should never have been signed by the club, but for the manager’s bizarre and relentless pursuit that saw the fee rise well beyond what it should have done. Quite why nobody took Mark Hughes to one side and said, “listen, don’t you think we could spend this £17.5m better elsewhere?” is a mystery, but they didn’t. Perhaps it was because he was voted sexiest player at the 2006 World Cup.
2 – Stevan Jovetic
If there’s one player that’s ever represented the club that will have nudes leaked online sometime in the future, it must be the Montenegrin. It would not be a surprise to know that they existed and that he’d sent them out himself, given the near X-rated status of his Instagram page. It is littered with examples of him leaving very little to the imagination. If you’ve got it, flaunt it after all. The striker is a man famed for his terrible dress sense – but that doesn’t matter since he’s ridiculously keen on shedding his clothes and showing off his assets anyway. Many expected him to be naked after he scored against Aston Villa in 2014 at the Etihad. He very nearly was, just stopping short of whipping his entire kit off for The Colin Bell Stand.
1 – Matija Nastasic
Having been thrown into the deep end in the Bernabeau during Roberto Mancini’s final year in charge at City, the young defender began to show ability that was wise beyond his years. A mistake between him and Joe Hart at Chelsea seemingly did for his City career and manager Manuel Pellegrini froze him out, as a loss of form and a run of injuries damaged his performances. Perhaps the Chilean felt threatened by the Serbian’s dazzling good looks or perhaps he’d just lost faith in his ability to stay fit. We’ll never truly know.
There were some players who didn’t quite make the list that some fans have a penchant for, which include Aleksandar Kolarov (pictured above), Alvaro Negredo, Nicolas Otamendi, Wilfried Bony, and Pablo Zabaleta.
But it’s my list, so tough – they didn’t make it.
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Written by David Mooney.