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Manchester City vs København

Richards, Robinho and the Man City team that last took on Copenhagen as European minnows

4:00 AM EDT 10/5/22
Richards Robinho Man City GFX
Following Sheikh Mansour's takeover of the club, City were embarking on their first European run under their new ownership back in 2009

Manchester City were a very different club the last time they faced FC Copenhagen in a competitive game. It was back in February 2009, with City 33 years removed from their last major trophy win and were embarking on just their second European adventure since 1979.

Sheikh Mansour had bought the club five months previously, and was at the very start of transforming City into one of the best teams in the world.

Dreams of challenging for the Champions League were, though, just dreams, as City found themselves in the UEFA Cup, having only qualified for the tournament due to their Fair Play ranking in the Premier League.

They eventually made it to the quarter-finals, seeing off Copenhagen on the way in what was their first knockout European tie of the Sheikh Mansour era.

So as they prepare to take on the Danish side again on Wednesday, GOAL looks back at the players in the City line up from 13 years ago and reveals where they are now...

  • 08 Shay Given

    Shay Given

    After 11 years at Newcastle, City lured Given to the Etihad Stadium in the early days of Sheikh Mansour's ownership.

    The Ireland international had been one of the best number ones in the Premier League for a decade, but with Newcastle struggling, he decided it was time for a change.

    He would, however, only be City's first choice for one more season, as Roberto Mancini opted for the promise of Joe Hart and Given was quickly moved on to Aston Villa.

    He finished his career in 2017 at Stoke City before working alongside Wayne Rooney as a coach at Derby County until 2021.

  • Pablo Zabaleta Manchester City West Ham Premier League 19042015

    Pablo Zabaleta

    Zabaleta joined City shortly before the takeover and perfectly illustrated manager Mark Hughes' ability for spotting raw talent.

    Plucked from Espanyol, Zabaleta would go on to spend nine seasons at the Etihad Stadium, winning two league titles and becoming a cult hero for his courageous displays.

    His early days were a little unsettled as he moved between playing midfield and fighting a battle with Micah Richards for the right-back spot, before he went onto make it his own in 333 appearances.

    Since finishing his career in 2020 with West Ham, he has worked as a TV pundit.

  • Nedum Onuoha

    Nedum Onuoha

    Raised in Manchester, Onuoha joined City as a 10-year-old and made 116 appearances for his boyhood club.

    Mancini, however, was critical of his performances, and he was soon sold to QPR, for whom he played on the day Sergio Aguero clinched the Premier League title for City in 2012.

    Onuoha later played in the United States for Real Salt Lake and had an infamous row with LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after claiming that the veteran striker threatened to injure him.

    As one of the more cerebral footballers of the modern era, Onuoha has gone on to become a successful pundit with his own podcast.

  • Richard Dunne | Manchester City

    Richard Dunne

    Of all the great footballers to have played for City in recent times, none have been named the club's Player of the Year more than Dunne's total of four.

    Over his 352 appearances, the Ireland international was a solid performer at the back, although no one is close to his Premier League record of 10 own goals.

    The 2008-09 season would be his last as a regular at City, as he played just twice the following season.

    His career did, though, carry on for another six years with Aston Villa and QPR, and is another who has gone on to work as a TV pundit.

  • Micah Richards Manchester City

    Micah Richards

    Still 21 when City faced Copenhagen, Richards already had 11 England caps under his belt and boasted huge potential as to what he could achieve.

    He was the first choice right-back for much of City's first title-winning season, laying on five assists.

    But injuries gradually slowed him down, and he retired age just 31 after spells at Fiorentina and Aston Villa.

    Now known as one of the UK's best-loved TV pundits for his unique enthusiasm and enjoyment of the game.

  • 10 Wayne Bridge

    Wayne Bridge

    City had to pay a premium for players in the early days of Mansour's reign, and even Bridge admits that he was embarrassed by the £12 million that was paid to sign him from Chelsea a month before the Copenhagen clash.

    His career at the Etihad never took off, and he made just 58 appearances in his three-and-a-half years.

    Bridge's most memorable moment in a City shirt actually came when he refused to shake hands with former team-mate John Terry when he returned to face Chelsea.

    After spells at West Ham, Sunderland, Brighton and Reading, he retired in 2014 and has appeared as a celebrity on various reality TV shows.

  • Shaun Wright-Phillips | Manchester City

    Shaun Wright-Phillips

    Wright-Phillips was in his second stint at City in 2009 after a four-year spell at Chelsea.

    The winger may have been just 5'5, but he had made a big impact first time around after debuting as a 17-year-old and leaving as an established England international.

    He carried on where he left off on his return, making 37 appearances in 2008-09 as City finished 10th.

    Another to be on the pitch for QPR when City won their first league title, he later moved to New York Red Bulls and has followed his famous father, Ian Wright, into the media.

  • Stephen Ireland Manchester City 2009

    Stephen Ireland

    This was the season when Ireland seemed to be on the cusp of greatness as Hughes built his side around the midfielder.

    He was outshining Brazilians Robinho and Elano with his skills in training and looked the most likely to stick with the club on its march to greatness.

    But the arrival of Mancini spelled the end for Ireland, and he made just 11 appearances for the Italian before moving on.

    Spells at Aston Villa, Newcastle, Stoke and Bolton followed, but he was never able to recapture his best form from when he was the fulcrum of Hughes' attacking side.

  • Vincent Kompany Manchester City Premier League 11022015

    Vincent Kompany

    Like Zabaleta, Kompany was another brilliant signing by Hughes before the takeover as he prised the Belgian away from Hamburg.

    After 10 years in Manchester, many as the captain, a statue now stands outside the stadium of the four-time Premier League winner.

    Back in 2009, Kopmany was being used mostly as a defensive midfielder, but he was to become one of the most outstanding centre-backs in Premier League history.

    Intelligence and understanding was always a key part of Kompany's gamem so it was no surprise when he went into managementm and is currently back in the north west with Burnley after a spell in charge of Anderlecht.

  • Robinho Manchester City


    Very few people in the world will have woken up on Deadline Day at the end of the 2008 summer transfer window expecting Robinho to sign for City within the next 24 hours - not least the Brazilian himself, who looked shell-shocked upon his arrival.

    Spoken of as a potential Ballon d'Or winner, Robinho was set to move to Chelsea, but the London club were haggling with Real Madrid over a price.

    Following Sheikh Mansour's takeover, City wanted a statement signing and stepped in with a £32.5million offer.

    Robinho went on to score 15 times in his first season with the club but just once in his second before moving on to AC Milan and various other clubs as his career petered out.

  • Craig Bellamy Manchester City

    Craig Bellamy

    Hughes wanted a big character in his dressing room and believed his fellow Welshman Bellamy was a perfect fit.

    Fiery and forthright, the striker would take on anyonem whether it was fans or flashy Brazilians after joining in January 2009.

    He scored both goals late on in the 2-1 victory over Copenhagen as City went through 4-3 on aggregate.

    But City were the eighth club of his career and proved to be a short stop before he moved onto first Liverpool and then hometown club Cardiff City, before retiring to work as a coach alongside Kompany.


    Mark Hughes

    Former Manchester United and Barcelona striker Hughes was desperate to end City's long wait for silverware, but never got much of a chance.

    He was sacked the following season with City sat sixth in the table but having won just two of his last 11 matches in charge.

    After spending more than £120m on Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott, more was expected, and replacement Mancini would go on to narrowly miss out on Champions League qualification.

    Hughes most recently took over at League Two side Bradford City in February after three years without a managerial job.