An understated class act of the highest order.

That seems the most apt way to sum up another momentous contribution by Nathan Ake as Manchester City secured what was a historic fourth straight Premier League title in 2023/24.

Having proved a key figure in the Club’s unforgettable  2022/23 Treble campaign, Ake only further demonstrated his importance to the collective cause with another series of calm, composed and intelligent performances across what proved a record-breaking season.

The Dutchman had gone into the new campaign buoyed by the boost of having signed a new contract in the summer, extending his stay at the Etihad through to the summer of 2027.

A humble, warm-hearted and immensely popular figure off the field, Ake once again proved a fiercely driven and competitive figure on the pitch where his astute positional awareness, supreme technique and superb ability in one-on-one situations caught the eye.

And once the new campaign got underway, both Ake and City quickly picked up where we had left off.

The 29-year-old produced an assured display to help Pep Guardiola’s side secure the 2023 UEFA Super Cup in August as we overcame Sevilla FC 5-4 on penalties in Athens after the sides had drawn 1-1 over 90 minutes.

SUPER TROOPER; Nathan Ake holds the UEFA Super Cup trophy aloft.
SUPER TROOPER; Nathan Ake holds the UEFA Super Cup trophy aloft.

That impact was then replicated across the domestic campaign where time and again, Ake’s qualities came to the fore.

Alongside his astute reading of the game defensively, keen positional awareness and fine technique, Ake also again weighed in with some crucial contributions at the other end of the field.

Indeed, it was Ake who had the distinction of registering City’s first-ever goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which had previously been the unhappiest of hunting grounds, his dramatic 88th minute strike firing us to a 1-0 FA Cup fourth round win against Spurs.

It was another timely example of Ake’s knack for coming up with crucial moments at key junctures of a season.

He was also twice on target in City’s magnificent march to a momentous fourth straight Premier League title.

Ake netted during September’s comprehensive 5-1 home win over Fulham and was on target again in our 6-1 home success against Bournemouth in early November.

WORLD CLASS: Nathan and team mate Ruben Dias celebrate City's 2023 FIFA Club World Cup triumph in Jeddah.
WORLD CLASS: Nathan and team mate Ruben Dias celebrate City's 2023 FIFA Club World Cup triumph in Jeddah.

More silverware was to follow in December as Ake started both the semi-final and final as City were crowned the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup champions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

That prestigious tournament also saw Nathan demonstrate the tactical and positional flexibility that has only further highlighted his importance to the City cause.

He figured as a centre back in the 3-0 semi-final win against Urawa Red Diamonds before switching to left back three days later as City overcame Brazilian Copa Libertadores champions Fluminense 4-0.

On the domestic front meanwhile, as City built up a real sense of momentum across the early part of 2024, Ake proved a reassuring constant presence before a calf injury briefly sidelined him as we went into the spring.

However, he was able to return to help play his part as Guardiola’s men saw off a formidable challenge from both Arsenal and Liverpool to become English football’s first ever four Tops.

It’s also perhaps no coincidence that it was Ake’s own fourth consecutive title in a row following his move to City from Bournemouth in the summer of 2020.

2023/24 STATS

Matches: 44

Starts: 38

Minutes: 3,053

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

In his own words

“Our hunger and desire to win never stops.  Once you do it once, you want to do it again and again.

“When you play for a club like Manchester City and for a manager like Pep Guardiola the pressure is always there to succeed.

“Every single player in the dressing room, every coach and staff member wants to continue the success we have had in recent years.”

Pep on Ake

“Nathan is an exceptional defender and an exceptional person too. He is incredible in the set-pieces, his attention to what we need in the process, he is really good in the short spaces.”