Manchester City's Vincent Kompany: Why his school paid off

Story highlights

  • Vincent Kompany joined Manchester City from Hamburg in 2008
  • The defender is captain for both City and the Belgium national team
  • Kompany combined a football career with his studies as a teenager
  • He hopes to see authorities take a hard stance when tackling racism

While those about him have lost their heads, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has been a model of consistency.

Whether it is players falling foul of the law, refusing to play, or simply getting swept up by the revolving door at the club's Etihad Stadium, Kompany has seen a number of teammates and managers come and go during his five years in Manchester.

But the Belgian has led the line for City both on and off the pitch.

The 27-year-old is captain of both club and country and his leadership helped City clinch a first English championship in 44 years in 2012.

Read: Marta seeks fair deal for women

His stellar performances and articulate interviews have made Kompany an idol among fans and a respected figure within the media.

Kompany's level head is something he credits to his education and his parents, who kept him grounded even when it became clear he was destined for sporting stardom.

"I couldn't go anywhere without finishing my studies," Kompany told CNN reflecting on the years he spent combining football and his education.

"I always remember playing in big games, millions of people watching, and the next day coming back at two o'clock in the morning.

"At eight o'clock I was just sitting on the bench with all my classmates and I was just a normal guy, but it's always given me the right balance.

"I thank my mother every day and my father every day for pushing me in that direction. They've never ever said to me, 'You're a great footballer. You've made it now just focus on your football.'

New York Cosmos' grand plans
New York Cosmos' grand plans


    New York Cosmos' grand plans


New York Cosmos' grand plans 02:12

"They've always said keep other things at hand and I guess I still have this in my life now."

Blog: Is Gareth Bale worth $120m?

Kompany's present is a far cry from his parents' past. His parents fled Zaire, now known as Democratic Republic of Congo, during the regime of president Mobuto Sese Seko, heading to Belgium where Kompany was born and raised.

"They've given us so much love when we were younger, but I guess like any modern family as well, we've had our problems in the fight," said Kompany of his parents.

"We've had financial difficulties like any normal family would have, but I think that the biggest lesson for me is that we've always come back to that education, the strength to do our own thing ... knowing that we would be okay even if we didn't have any money because we knew exactly how to handle situations."

Despite the success he has enjoyed since signing for City in 2008, Kompany continues to have numerous extracurricular interests.

British newspaper the Daily Mail reported in January 2012 that Kompany had signed up for a three-year Business Administration course, while he also purchased a football club in his hometown and renamed it BX Brussels.

Ozil: Real Madrid needs Ronaldo
Ozil: Real Madrid needs Ronaldo


    Ozil: Real Madrid needs Ronaldo


Ozil: Real Madrid needs Ronaldo 02:55

The team, which plays at the bottom level of the Belgian football pyramid, is Kompany's attempt to ensure up and coming players are given the best possible start to their careers.

"I played football for Anderlecht from the age of 6 to the age of 20 so that has had a big impact on my life, at the same time as my parents and the schools I went to," he explained.

"I really believe that the interactions between all of those different assets led me to be better.

"I want to make a very strong link into the schools, maybe sometimes even the life at home for the kids.

"I think a part of the reason why a lot of young kids fail is because they don't have the support from home that they need to."

One obstacle faced by some modern footballers is racism. The key to tackling discrimination, according to Kompany, is also education.

While Kompany pays little heed to the abusers, he still says it is important for the game's governing bodies to clamp down on the vocal minority.

"It's a very sad life, it's a very sad way of behaving so I wouldn't give them too much attention," he added.

"But at the same time, as much as I wouldn't teach my kids to give them too much attention, I hope the governing bodies will be extremely hard and extremely exemplary in the way that they deal with those situations."

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.