Where are they now? The Man City team from Pep’s first pre-season game

Quick Reads

Pep Guardiola has transformed the Manchester City squad since taking over in 2016 – and many of the players who started his first friendly in charge are no longer even at the club.

The Spaniard’s first game as City boss came in a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly at the Allianz Arena on July 20, 2016.

City had 12 academy players in their squad that day and we’ve taken a look back at an unfamiliar starting XI to see how they have all fared since.

Willy Caballero (Angus Gunn, 45′)

Caballero became a cult hero with City fans and made 27 appearances for Guardiola before his contract expired in 2017.

The experienced goalkeeper then moved to Chelsea and now provides competition to Kepa Arrizabalaga at Stamford Bridge.

Gunn failed to make the grade at City and joined Southampton in 2018 but has been unable to establish himself as first choice ahead of Alex McCarthy.

Pablo Maffeo

Maffeo impressed on loan at Girona FC in La Liga and earned plenty of plaudits for his performance against Barcelona.

“Man-marking doesn’t bother me – you know that there will be tough matches and it can be strange to always have someone around you,” Lionel Messi told DAZN.

‘I don’t remember [who the toughest man marker has been], truly. The one from Girona [Pablo Maffeo], maybe. That was exaggerated.”

The full-back made the permanent move to Stuttgart in 2018 but struggled to make an impact with the German club and was loaned back to Girona in 2019.

Tosin Adarabioyo

The defender has been at City since he was five years old and is regarded as one of the best prospects from their academy.

After a year at West Brom, Adarabioyo has spent this season on loan at Blackburn Rovers, but the 22-year-old has big ambitions for the future.

“In five years’ time I’d like to be captain of Man City and have won the Premier League and the Champions League. Definitely it can happen,” Adarabioyo told The Guardian.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Sinan Bytyqi, 66′)

Kolarov won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups in his seven years with City before joining Roma in 2017.

The left-back has gone on to make well over 100 appearances for the Giallorossi and, even at 34, was given a contract extension until 2021.

Bytyqi was forced to retire with a heart condition at the age of 22 in 2017, but the club gave him a new role as a loan scout.

Angelino

Angelino originally wasn’t able to break into the City team under Guardiola and had loan spells with Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda.

The left-back then joined PSV permanently in 2018 only for City to trigger their buy-back clause a year later.

He made 12 appearances in the first half of 2019-20 before being loaned out to RB Leipzig and presumably wondering what was the point of all this.

Fernando (Yaya Toure, 56′)

Fernando found opportunities limited under Guardiola in 2016-17, with compatriot Fernandinho often preferred in a holding role in the City midfield.

The Brazilian signed for Galatasaray in 2017 and after two seasons in Turkey, joined Sevilla for £4million in the summer of 2019.

Toure didn’t exactly see eye to eye with Guardiola and joined Olympiacos in 2018 after being deemed surplus to requirements.

In 2019 he helped China League One side Qingdao Huanghai earn promotion to the Super League.

Fernandinho (Aleix Garcia, 73′)

Fernandinho has been a mainstay in City’s midfield under Guardiola, making more than 170 appearances since the Spaniard’s arrival.

“He knows exactly the opinion we have about what he’s done at the club for many years,” Guardiola said. “He is one of the greatest players this club has had in its whole history.”

Garcia made eight first-team appearances under Guardiola and has spent the last three seasons out on loan.

Jesus Navas (Bersant Celina, 56′)

Navas was often deployed as an emergency right-back in Guardiola’s first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium due to injuries.

The 34-year-old returned to former club Sevilla in 2017 and they renamed their training ground to the Estadio Jess Navas, in recognition of his achievements.

Celina had loan spells with FC Twente and Ipswich Town before joining Swansea City on a permanent deal in 2018.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (Fabian Delph, 45′)

Zinchenko arrived from Russian Premier League team FC Ufa as an attacking midfielder in 2016 and was immediately sent out on loan to PSV.

The Ukrainian returned to City in 2017 and established himself in Guardiola’s first-team squad after developing into a left-back to provide cover for the injured Benjamin Mendy.

Delph played 22 times in City’s Premier League-winning season of 2017-18 but struggled for first-team opportunities the following campaign and joined Everton in 2019.

Brandon Barker (Gael Clichy, 45′)

Barker came through the academy at City and enjoyed three productive loan spells NAC Breda, Hibernian and Preston. 

The winger never made a competitive first-team appearance under Guardiola and joined Rangers on a permanent deal in 2019.

Clichy was slowly eased out of the City team by Guardiola and the full-back signed for Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017.

Kelechi Iheanacho (Wilfried Bony, 45′)

Iheanacho was highly rated at City, but the striker fell behind Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in the pecking order and joined Leicester for £25million in 2017.

Bony rejoined Swansea City in 2017 but now plays for Saudi outfit Al-Ittihad after a spell training with League Two side Newport County.


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