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Five Former Manchester City Stars Still Playing Today

A Look At Some Former Blues Still Plying Their Trade

Manchester City’s Bulgarian forward Vale Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Players come and go at Manchester City, as they do with all clubs, but while some retire and move into punditry, others have continued with their playing days. Here, we take a look at five such players who are still giving their all for other teams.

Mario Balotelli

This Italian striker was an enigma during his time at City. Some days he would be unplayable, while others you’d wonder if he was actually playing. Balotelli spent three seasons at City, making 80 appearances and scoring 30 goals, but it was his volatile nature that dominated his time in Manchester.

He scored and was sent off in a match at West Brom, and also saw red in a Europa League tie against Dynamo Kyiv. Balotelli was also involved in ugly scenes at the end of City’s FA Cup semi-final against United at Wembley. After the blues advanced to the final, Balotelli wound up Rio Ferdinand, causing the United man to make every effort to get at the Italian.

Balotelli was named Man of the Match in the final, and a year later, his pass released Sergio Aguero to score ‘that’ goal against QPR.

But his disciplinary problems continued and a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini, lead to his departure to AC Milan. He returned to the Premier League with Liverpool, but only scored 4 goals in his only season on Merseyside. He spent four years in France, before returning to Serie A with Brescia, and is now playing for Turkish side Adana Demirspor, where he has scored 4 goals in 8 games.

Roque Santa Cruz

29 goals in 70 appearances for Blackburn Rovers convinced new City manager Mark Hughes to spend £17.5m on the Paraguay striker in 2009. However, the former Bayern Munich man struggled in Manchester, scoring just 4 goals in 22 appearances.

When new manager Roberto Mancini replaced Hughes in December, the writing was on the wall for Santa Cruz, but he still scored in a 2-1 away win at Fulham in March, his last goal for the club.

Santa Cruz had loan spells back at Rovers, before heading to Spain for loan spells with Real Betis and Malaga, making the move to Malaga permanent in 2013. He has since returned to Paraguay and plays for Olimpia, scoring 75 goals in 178 matches.

Vladimir Weiss

Weiss was an academy product and made his first team debut in October 2009. The winger was touted as being one for the future at City, with a tricky style of play that would suit the speed of the Premier League.

To get experience, Weiss went on season-long loans to Bolton, Rangers and Espanyol, before making a permanent move to Pescara. Weiss made 4 appearances for the blues, scoring 1 goal.

After a season in Italy, Weiss moved to Greek side Olympiacos, before spending 8 season in the Qatari Stars League. The Slovakian now plays in his home country with Slovan Bratislava, and has made 26 appearances for the club.

Jo

Brazilian striker Jo was a curious signing. City had dispensed with the services of Sven Goran-Erikssen and appointed Mark Hughes, however they had been on Jo’s trail even before the former Blackburn manager took over.

Jo was a scoring sensation in Russia, having scored 44 goals in just 77 matches, yet he failed to achieve the same heights at City. In his first season, he hit 3 goals in 18 matches before joining Everton on loan in February 2009.

He spent the following season at Goodison Park, before returning to City for the 2010/11 season, where he made 24 appearances, scoring just 3 goals. Jo moved to Galatasaray on loan, before making a permanent move to Brazilian side Internacional. He remained in Brazil’s Serie A until 2015, when he moved to the UAE Pro League with Al Shabab, before spending solitary seasons in China and Brazil, before moving to the Japanese J League with Nagoya Grampus.

Jo spent 2 seasons in Japan, scoring 33 goals from 77 appearances, and now plays for Brazilian side Corinthians, his first club.

Valeri Bojinov

This Bulgarian striker was signed by Sven Goran-Erikssen from Italian side Fiorentina, but it was an ill-fated move that saw the striker injured for most of his career.

Bojinov made his City debut as a second half substitute for Rolando Bianchi at West Ham, but a week later, was injured during the home derby against United. That ruled the Bulgarian out for five months and he returned to training the folowing January.

The striker finally scored his first goal for the senior team in a friendly at Stockport, and hit the winner in a home friendly against AC Milan. Looking like a new signing, City were ready to give the striker a starring role, however, as City prepared for the opening match of the season at Villa Park, injury struck again as he ruptured his achilles in the warm up, ruling him out for 6 months.

After almost 2 full seasons, Bojinov finally scored his first Premier League goal in a 2-1 defeat at Spurs. The striker then left to join Parma, initially on loan, which was made permanent in 2010.

He went on to have spells in Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, China, Switzerland and Croatia, but now plays his football in his homeland of Bulgaria. He scored 2 goals in 11 appearances for Levski Sofia in his first season, but is yet to get on the scoresheet this season.