Vincent Kompany is heading down the same path as Nemanja Vidic

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Nemanja Vidic or Vincent Kompany? That was once the question on everyone's lips as the debate rumbled on over which defender was the greatest in Manchester.

It wasn't that long ago that these two were recognised as the best in the Premier League; it was hard to separate the duo as they led their respective clubs to great success. Now, though, that debate is a thing of the past. 

Vidic, of course, departed England's elite division last summer after enduring a tricky final year or two on English soil. The once consistently brilliant Serbian endured a nightmare on the injury scene and never really recovered. 

Ultimately, his career at Manchester United fizzled out, but he will no doubt go down as a hero in the eyes of so many at the Theatre of Dreams . After all, Vidic played key roles in numerous title successes and was at his peak as the famous club secured their third major European trophy back in 2008.

Premier League greats

And there's no doubt about it, when Kompany - Vidic's former Manchester rival - moves on, he too will go down as a Premier League great.

But have we now seen the best of Kompany? First thing's first, the Belgian international is only 28-years-old, so to many it would be harsh to suggest that he is starting to decline as a player.

Unfortunately for him - and the City faithful - that is starting to appear to be the case. In truth, the former Hamburg man hasn't been at his best for a couple of years now.

Injuries have seemingly taken their toll on the defender: from hamstring struggles to groin strains, Kompany has picked up many frustrating niggles in recent time, which has not helped his game.

Mistakes are being made, and he doesn't appear to be that same force that he once was. Last night, as the Sky Blues hosted Spanish giants Barcelona, the City captain had a night to forget as Manuel Pellegrini's side suffered yet more misery in Europe's elite competition. 

Scholes criticism

In fact, Kompany was even criticised by Manchester United legend Paul Scholes after last night's setback. The Red Devils' former midfielder said on ITV: “Kompany, especially, has struggled and I think he’s struggled the last few weeks – he’s struggled tonight as well."

Scholes didn't stop there. He also claimed that the City captain was at fault for Suarez's second goal of the evening.

Scholes continued: “I think Kompany’s at fault here again. Barcelona midfield players, they want somebody to come and dive in. Kompany dived in first.

“He got back, but he hasn’t got a clue where Suarez is. He hasn’t protected the space at the front post.”

Clearly, then, Scholes believes Kompany is going through a tricky spell at the Etihad. And he is right. But there's a chance that he will never quite be the same. There is a chance that he will go down the same route as Vidic and ultimately look for one last challenge away from England.

Past his best?

Of course his supporters will point to his age. How can he be past it at 28 they will say...but he can; others before him have proved that. 

Players enter their peak at different times and Kompany's best years in a blue shirt may well be behind him. Don't get me wrong, he may well stay at City for a little while longer yet, but he will have to adapt quickly or face a difficult final few years at the club. 

Vidic's last couple of years in Manchester weren't great - Kompany will be hoping that things turn out differently for him. 

Manchester City fans: Will Kompany get back to his best? Have your say in the comments section below! 

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Manchester City
Premier League
Vincent Kompany
Manchester United

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