Manchester City’s former goalkeeper Joe Hart has been honoured by the club as a training pitch at the City Football Academy has been named after him. Hart had been the club’s undisputed number one in goal for the most part of his more than a decade career at the club and played a significant role in the club’s 2012 and 2014 Premier League title wins.
But he was considered surplus to requirements by Guardiola when the Catalan manager took over in 2016. Two loan deals followed as he went to Italian Serie A side Torino the first year and then to West Ham the next year before finally sealing a permanent move to Burnley in the summer.
The 31-year-old subsequently lost his number one spot in the national team as well, as Gareth Southgate then went with Everton’s Jordan Pickford as first choice. But things went from bad to worse when he missed out on the World Cup altogether as he failed to make the final list.
However, he has been ever-present in goal for Sean Dyche’s side this season helping them to two wins and two draws in eight league games. He came up against his former side today as Burnley face Man City at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite not agreeing with Guardiola’s opinion, the goalkeeper has stated that he holds no grudge against the manager. This has prompted the manager to respond in kind, stating:
”I know how tough it was for the fans, for the people. He was an incredible keeper and had incredible results here in the club.”
”That’s why it was not easy for me, to take a decision.
”I’m not always taking decisions that are right. I have made in my career good decisions and very bad decisions, but you have to take it in the right moment and at the right time.
”Sometimes I took it and afterwards I’ve regretted. That’s what it is - that happens.”
After the game on Saturday, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak presented Hart with a mosaic and lifetime season card.
The chairman told City’s official club website: “It is truly fitting to mark Joe Hart’s outstanding contribution to Manchester City in such a visible way.
”During his 12 years with the club, Joe not only produced some incredible individual displays, but also celebrated great success as a member of the club’s most decorated team in decades.
”His Manchester City legacy is assured and it is hoped that this tribute will serve to inspire future generations of goalkeepers who train at the City Football Academy dreaming of replicating his remarkable career.”
Hart himself has responded to the gesture, saying: “Having the goalkeeping pitch at the City Football Academy dedicated to me is a huge honour. Manchester City has been a huge part of my life and my career, and I’m immensely proud of what I and my teammates achieved in that period.
”There have been some incredible goalkeeping legends throughout Manchester City’s history, and I feel privileged that the club has chosen to recognise me amongst that number.”
The goalkeeper remains a popular figure at the Etihad and to City fans everywhere as he was one of the key players in some of the most successful period for club.