Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart got a standing ovation following the Champions League play-off win over Steaua Bucharest.
Hart played his first game of the season – and potentially his last – after being confined to the bench by new City manager Pep Guardiola for the past three games.
Nice to see such a huge turnout for Joe Hart's last game for Man City. Ahh, Champions League nights at the Etihad: magical atmosphere! #MCFC
— Paul (@so_paulo) August 24, 2016
The match proved an emotional ones for City fans, who sang “Don’t sell Joe Hart” when game kicked off and applauded many of his touches.
A banner was then unfurled at the start of the second half, which read: “A good Hart these days is hard to find” while fans also chanted “Super Joe Hart”, “Joe Hart, he’ll pass when he wants” and “City’s number one”.
Emotional hearing all the fans singing for Joe Hart ð Absolutely gutted to be losing him! Can't thank him enough ð #MCFC #Only1JoeHart
— Maisie Mary (@Maisiemcfc) August 24, 2016
Joe Hart is part if the reason the club is where it is today. The man has been exceptional on and off the pitch. A true Man City legend.
— Kunpany (@Kunpany4) August 24, 2016
Never felt this way about a player leaving. Genuinely gutted that Hart is gonna leave the club ðð©
— Reece Smith (@RASmith28) August 24, 2016
Hart gave reason to suggest that this was his farewell after the final whistle when he stood in the centre of the Etihad Stadium and blew kisses to the crowd as he accepted their applause.
The goalkeeper also grabbed the Manchester City badge on his shirt before pointing to the fans. He was given the captain’s armband for the night and, until the final whistle, showed no signs of emotion as he concentrated on his job between the posts.
When asked about his future, Hart told BT Sport: “That’s not for me to say; it is what it is.
“That was a really special night for me. I’ve had a lot of good nights in football.
“We all know there’s a situation going on but I feel that inside, outside of all the circus, we are handling it well as a good team with a good management staff.
“This is a special place for me, there’s never been any secret made of that. It’s the place I’d love to be but situations occur in football but we’re men and we get on with it.
I take my hat off to Joe Hart amazing keeper and a top guy handled that interview with dignity and pride#MCFC ðâ½ï¸ð. Xx
— Linda (@lindahyland63) August 24, 2016
“Tonight was really nice and I really appreciate the people at Manchester City and it turns out they appreciate me.
“It’s a situation, we’ve got a top manager that the club’s wanted for a long, long time and he’s going to have his opinion on things.
“Outside of the charade and all the rubbish that is talked we are dealing with it like men and we are going to come up with a solution.”