Former Manchester City footballer Vincent Kompany has been praised ahead of his testimonial match for his “passion and determination” in tackling homelessness.
Kompany, 33, had been due to make an emotional return to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night after he joined Belgian club Anderlecht this summer following City’s treble-winning season in lifting the Premier League, FA Cup and the Carabao Cup trophies.
But on Wednesday afternoon, he announced he had suffered a hamstring injury and couldn’t risk joining in the match.
Kompany said: “Unfortunately I can’t start or even play. I have a slight hamstring injury and can’t risk it. It’s typical me.”
All proceeds from the Man City Legends v Premier League All Stars tie will go to Kompany’s Tackle4MCR charity which will then be used to support rough sleepers in Greater Manchester.
The Belgian defender has already raised more than £300,000 for Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s A Bed Every Night scheme, which so far has supported 2,003 people with 688 moving on to long-term accommodation.
A Bed Every Night launched last November to provide a bed, warm welcome and personal support for anyone sleeping on the streets in the region.
Last week Mr Burnham announced a £6 million funding package, which from next month will increase the number of bed spaces from 300 to 400 provided by voluntary, faith and community groups and housing providers.
On Wednesday, Mr Burnham said: “I can’t praise Vincent Kompany enough for his legendary sporting prowess on the pitch and for his heartfelt support to end the humanitarian crisis of rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with him over the last year and I’ve seen first-hand how committed he is.
“I will never forget meeting up with Vincent at Supporting People In Need, a charity in Manchester that is doing outstanding work supporting homeless people.
“Just days after he scored that goal against Leicester and just before he led City to their first back-to-back Premier League title, he gave up his time to visit the charity in Ardwick.
“As well as raising awareness of the issues, Vincent’s already raised over £300,000 for A Bed Every Night. And yet he’s going above and beyond this by donating the proceeds of his testimonial to support even more people.
“Vincent knows, like we do, that in 2019, nobody should have to spend a night on the streets. We do things differently in this city. We don’t just walk on by and, while he may be from Brussels, Vincent is as Mancunian as they come and understands this better than most.
“I pay tribute to Vincent for his courage, passion and determination to help those who need it the most and I wish him all the best ahead of tonight’s match.”