Kevin De Bruyne: From the streets of Belgium to conquering England
In Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City have one of, if not the best attacking midfielders in the world, who has been gracing City and the Premier League with his brilliance since 2015.
Full Name: Kevin De Bruyne
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Joined City: 30th August 2015
Manchester City Appearances: 178
Manchester City Goals: 42 Assists: 76
Youth and Early Career
Kevin De Bruyne's talent was clearly recognisable from a young age, joining Belgian team KVV Drongen at the youthful age of just six, and after spending two years with them he was scouted by another Belgian team Gent. After spending his youth years
with these teams he signed his first professional contract at Genk in 2008, and broke into the first team in 2009 appearing in 31 first team games. He then helped Genk win the 2010-11 Belgian Pro League breaking double figures in assists. He spent one more season at the Belgian team before getting his move to the Premier League with London giants Chelsea.
England and Germany
Kevin joined Chelsea for around seven million pounds and immediately loaned the young Belgian to German outfit Werder Bremen for the season. Kevin enjoyed a good spell in Germany with a combined nineteen goals and assists and this wouldn't be his last experience of the German top flight. He returned to Chelsea with Jose Mourinho insisting he would be part of his plans for the upcoming season. This was not the case however with Kevin only making 3 appearances all season. This would prove to be one of the biggest transfer mistakes in Chelsea's history as they sold the Belgian to Wolfsburg for eighteen million pounds. He lit up the Bundesliga in his two seasons there, being an integral part in the 2014-15 season in helping Wolfsburg finish second, and winning the DFB-Pokal. He was also named the 2015 Germany Footballer of the Year. These achievements attracted the interest of Manchester City who were determined to bring the Belgian back to the Premier League.
City smashed their transfer record in 2015 to bring in the brilliant Belgian, paying a reported fee of fifty-eight million pounds. This has proved to be one of the best deals in the last decade in the English game, as Kevin has improved his game in all areas becoming known as the complete midfielder. He can score fantastic goals, strike a wicked set piece, track back and defend and work endlessly for the team. In September 2015, he made his City debut and scored in the same month. He was then named one of the final 23 players in contention for the Ballon d'Or award.
He kept up his good form, playing a key role in the city's first-ever UEFA Champions League semi-final, which drew plaudits from the media. In the 2016/17 season, he was still in excellent form, leading his club in defeating formidable opponents such as Liverpool and Barcelona. He was back to his best form in the 2017/18 season. His outstanding performances was rewarded in January 2018 with a contract extension that would keep him at City until 2023. After that, he helped City win the EFL Cup and the Premier League. Kevin also performed superbly in the 2018 World Cup, including a winner in the quarter final vs Brazil before losing to eventual champions France. De Bruyne was named the first-ever Premier League Playmaker of the Season after recording 16 assists in the 2017/18 season.
De Bruyne missed the majority of the 2018/19 with injury but was back with a vengeance in 2019/20, He started the season on fire with five assists in his first four games. He scored the Premier League Goal of the Month in November with a stunning strike against Newcastle. He scored a stunning brace against Arsenal and set up Raheem Sterling in the same game (which the Premier League didn't award!) Setting up Gabriel Jesus and scoring the winner at the Bernabeu was also not a bad feat for the mercurial Belgian. His list of individual achievements for this season is surreal, picking up not only the Manchester City player of the season, but the first of his back to back PFA Player of the Season Awards. Arguably his most impressive feat in the season was equalling Thierry Henry's award for most assists in a Premier League season with 20, and many City fans will know he should of surpassed it! Although City missed out on the league to Liverpool, many City fans will remember this season for seeing one of the greatest individual seasons by a City player ever.
Kevin once again played an influential role in City's 20/21 title win and run to the Champions League final, providing another 12 assists in the league seeing him crowned PFA Player of the Year once again. He is arguably one of the greatest midfielders to play in the Premier League Era, comparable to the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and David Silva. He has received heaps of praise over his time at City with the likes of Spanish legend Xavi, rival from the red half of Manchester Bruno Fernandes and England Captain Harry Kane. Xavi hailed him for being comparable to Lionel Messi, in terms of the impact he brings to the team. "Pep's teams win as teams, but even the most special sides need that player to look to when they need something special," he said. "At Barcelona we had it with Messi and this team Manchester City have it with De Bruyne. Every time he has the ball, you get the feeling that he is going to do something special with it." (https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2751505-xavi-praises-special-kevin-de-bruyne-makes-lionel-messi-comparison)
Kevin will continue to make a positive impact to City and the Premier League for more years to come with much magic still within 'The Ginger Pele's' boots.