Roberto Mancini has been hailed as the man who “changed everything” for Manchester City by former midfielder Abdul Razak.
Mancini, 56, was the first managerial appointment made by Sheikh Mansour at the Etihad following his takeover in September 2008, with the Italian succeeding Mark Hughes the following year and delivering Premier League title glory in 2012.
Mancini’s arrival marked the first indication of a power shift in English football, with the revered tactician seen as a real coup at the time, having won three successive Scudetti with Inter Milan between 2006 and 2008.
During his time at the club some of City’s biggest stars of the 2010s were signed for eye-watering sums, including Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, with that particular trio defining a decade of dominance for the Citizens.
Among one of the lesser-known names signed during that period for the club was Abdul Razak, who relocated to the North West in 2010 after leaving Crystal Palace, and was handed his Premier League debut by Mancini.
Razak ultimately struggled to nudge his way to the front of City’s impeccable roster, leaving in 2013 for Anzhi Makhachkala, before enduring on a bird-of-passage existence in football, where he has since turned out for eight clubs in just seven years, but he remembers his Etihad days well.
Speaking to Goal, Razak explained the importance Mancini had on his early career, and just how influential he has been in City’s rise to the top as a global powerhouse in football.
He said: “He was like a father to me. He was always looking after me and was actually very good.
“He saw my potential, he found something in me, but I wanted to play as soon as possible.
“I was really giving everything in training for him and he really believed in me. That was how I got my chance – because of Roberto Mancini.”
He continued: “He gave the whole dressing room a vibe and a belief that we could do more. It changed everything.
“That made City what it is today, that’s why we are talking about City today.
“In training, when he sees something he doesn’t like, he’s not happy. He’s a tough manager because he’s a serious winner.
“Maybe when I was younger I didn’t know it, but you learn from those experiences that it’s not easy for a manager. They have tough decisions to make sometimes, when you’ve got a squad of 25 top players, and you have to put people on the bench, it’s a tough one to call.
“He managed it well and he won the league, so there you go.”