Manchester City fans are absolutely spoilt when it comes to the talent in their squad.
From back to front, City boast some of the best players in the world. Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero are all cases in point.
But back in 2007, City’s squad included players of less glamorous standing, like Sun Jihai, Darius Vassell, Stephen Ireland and Emile Mpenza.
Under the Thaksin Shinawatra regime, manager Sven-Goran Eriksson had splurged on a number of players, including one of the Premier League’s great flops, Rolando Bianchi.
But one man stood head and shoulders above the rest of that side when it came to talent: Elano.
The Brazilian playmaker was a breath of fresh air at the City of Manchester Stadium; a throwback to great attacking midfielders of the club’s past.
Elano made an instant impact after signing for £8million from Shakhtar Donetsk, delivering the cross for City’s opening goal in the 2-0 win against West Ham on his debut.
You can watch Elano and loads of other legends at the O2 in July in the Star Sixes tournament. For 25% OFF, head to this link and use the code FSCOFFER
His quick feet, wicked delivery and propensity to arc vicious free-kicks into the top corner made him a favourite among the City fans.
But City were a pretty ordinary team in the years before the takeover in 2008, and in Elano’s first season they finished ninth in the league.
The following year, after Sheikh Mansour bankrolled the takeover of City and Robinho had signed for a club record £32.5million, Elano and City were inconsistent.
They finished 10th in the league, but did reach the UEFA Cup quarter-final, where Elano keeping up his 100% penalty conversion rate by bagging from the spot against Hamburg.
Elano, who played 50 times for Brazil in his playing career, was shipped off to Galatasaray at the end of that season for £8m, with many City fans sad to see the back of him.
In a time when players like Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge were arriving in Manchester for eye-watering sums, many City fans – me included – believe Elano had much more to offer, and would have had a key role to play at City had he stayed a few years longer.
He’s currently assistant manager at Santos in his homeland, and will be playing in a legends tournament, Star Sixes, at London’s O2 next month.