Ryan Giggs has admitted games like the Manchester derby are the reason why he is still operating at the highest level.
Should he play some part for Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, it will be Giggs' 908th appearance for the Red Devils, an incredible 36 of which would have been against City.
"These are the sort games which I am still involved in football for," he said. "They are big, title-deciding games. Apart from cup finals this is as big as you can get."
As someone who, as a schoolboy, trained with the Blues and then grew up in the city, Giggs is acutely aware of how important these all-Manchester battles have always been.
Now though, it is something else, right up there with the very biggest matches Giggs has appeared in throughout his long and illustrious career.
Three points in front but with a significantly inferior goal difference, Giggs knows the price of failure would be concession of United's place at the top of the Premier League. Conversely, victory, or even a draw, would almost guarantee a record 20th league title.
Yet Giggs admits the players cannot get drawn into the hype, as difficult as it is to avoid.
"They've been saying for the last two or three years that every derby is the biggest ever," he said. "Obviously with three games to go and almost being neck and neck going to the finish there is no mistaking this is a massive game and the biggest in recent times.
"But as a United player, you're used to big games. You have to block out all the hype and the predictions. That's been going on all the season anyway, with people saying City were going to win the title and then United.
"It's different for the fans. I must admit it's hard but you have to be professional and not let emotions get too far ahead of you. Our job is to train well and be ready to perform when kick-off comes."