Former Manchester City midfielder Elano has recalled his time at the club in an interview with ESPN Brasil this week.

The 35-year-old played for the club between 2007 and 2009, being part of the takeover that gave the Manchester City a new standard.

Speaking of his arrival, Elano said: “I found a very structured club that was still under a construction phase. We came in fifteen players at one go, but thank God it was a very positive year.”

He also claimed that their work back then is what influenced in the club’s recent glories: “I realised that in the beginning it was a club that had mainly restructured from outside, it had a president with money to make signings. And I believe that for these titles to happen, there had to be the base that we built back there.”

Elano also explained why he left the club to Turkey in 2009: “I was one year from the World Cup, where I was a starter for the Brazilian team. And I did not want to take the risk of missing the World Cup again. I had a great offer from Galatasaray. It was an offer for both preparation and training so that I could arrive well to the World Cup. So that was the reason I left Manchester City.”

Asked about the best players he played against and alongside, Elano named a few rivals and a teammate: “I got a good period from Rio Ferdinand, I played against Giggs, I played against Rooney, I played against Cristiano Ronaldo. This was a team of great achievements for Manchester United. And from my team, a player who impressed me a lot, who helped me a lot, was Micah Richards, a defender, who was an impressive force.”

He also spoke about the match he remembers most: “The game that marks the most is the first game, it’s the debut. That’s where we won 2-1. I made a very good move in the first goal, I managed to pass a ball to Bianchi, who was an Italian forward. I came from a sprint from the midfield. It was West Ham away. And it was where we rebuilt the joy of the fans, it’s a very passionate fan base and my identification with them is very positive.”

“I am a very privileged guy for playing for two and a half years in England.”

Elano is currently playing for Santos, where he’s an idol for having won several titles. He’s now more valued because of his experience, so he helps the manager Dorival Junior to communicate with the squad and also has an important role as an example for young players. After 35 fixtures, he still has less than 100 minutes played in the Brazilian league this season.