Manchester City’s players finally got their hands on the Premier League trophy on Sunday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s side had been confirmed as champions on April 15, when rivals Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at the hands of West Brom, but they had to wait until after their penultimate home game of the season to celebrate properly.
The match action was slightly underwhelming — with City stuttering to a 0-0 draw with Huddersfield — but that did not stop fans and players celebrating what has been a fine season domestically.
Once the pitch had been cleared and a stage set up, the City players and staff returned from their dressing room wearing shirts with ‘Champions 18’ printed on the back.
Manager Guardiola was the first man to receive his Premier League medal, while club captain Vincent Kompany went up last.
Before City’s players got to lift the trophy, they managed to knock it off its podium and on to the floor. This happened as the squad said a boisterous farewell to midfielder Yaya Toure, who is set to leave City this summer after eight seasons and three Premier League titles with the club.
‘(It’s) very special, we deserve it this season,’ Toure later told Sky Sports. ‘This group are younger, full of energy. It is fantastic to be part of this team.
‘In the Champions League (there was) disappointment, but team-playing, and next year more of this year.
‘After eight years of service, it is right time to move on, but I am very delighted to be part of this club. Now they are looking forwards, and I hope next year more of the same.’
Benjamin Mendy then grabbed the mic and, said to Toure: ‘City love you. You are the legend. Thank you for all!’
Guardiola was lifted and thrown into the air by his players during their celebrations. Once he had his feet back on the ground, the Spaniard stated his intention to win the title again next season.
He said: ‘England is a special place and is so tough. Today we saw it. You never know if you are going to win, but I had no doubt what I had to do.
‘You win or lose, you have to try and do what you believe. Today was proof we can do better, 11 players were playing in the Premier League.
‘We lost a bit of focus, but that is normal. To make back-to-back titles in this league will be tough, but we accept the challenge.’
Fellow Spaniard David Silva, whose partner gave birth prematurely midway through the football season, added: ‘With what happened to my son, I am very happy. He is getting better, we have won title, I’m happy.
‘I feel good, even having to travel to Spain and back to England, but we got it, we are the champions.’
Silva has regularly been given extra time off since January to visit his son and family in Spain, but the 32-year-old has still managed to provide nine Premier League goals and 11 assists.