Kevin De Bruyne is playing on a ‘private’ personal issue as he leads Man City’s Treble chase, Thierry Henry reveals, after telling boss Pep Guardiola to ‘shut up’ ahead of emotional touchline hugs
Thierry Henry has revealed Kevin De Bruyne was playing through a ‘private’ personal issue after the pair shared an emotional embrace following Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final win over Real Madrid.
City cruised to a 5-1 aggregate win over the reigning European champions with De Bruyne playing a key role.
The Belgian star scored City’s equalizer in the 1-1 draw in last week’s first leg, before providing the assist for Bthe crucial first goal of ernardo Silva at the Etihad.
The goal provided the platform for City’s 4-0 victory on the night, as Pep Guardiola’s side staged a final against Inter Milan.
De Bruyne, who was substituted in the 84th minute, was spotted kissing former Belgium assistant coach Thierry Henry after a post-match chat.
Kevin De Bruyne and Thierry Henry hugged after Man City win over Real Madrid
De Bruyne reportedly told Pep Guardiola to ‘shut up’ during second-half disagreement
The pair put their brief argument behind them as they enjoyed a celebratory hug on the touchline
Henry, who worked as a pundit for CBS, said he had “even more respect” for the midfielder for playing in the tie after their “private” conversation.
‘It was [a touching moment]. I can’t say because I have to keep it private,” Henry said.
“But from what he told me, I respect even more the way he played tonight and how he came to fight with his team. I can’t share what he said because I can’t share it. It’s like that.
“But again I will come back, for me he is the most important player.”
Sports Mail understands City want to keep the matter private and are confident it won’t affect the rest of the season.
The swap between De Bruyne and Henry came after the midfielder told City boss Guardiola to ‘shut up’.
De Bruyne and Guardiola were seen rowing in the second half, after possession was robbed.
Guardiola was left boiling as the Belgian advanced with the ball just inside Madrid’s half and, after failing to spot a potential pass to Jack Grealish on the left side, was denied possession by Militao.
De Bruyne was crucial in both legs of the Champions League semi-final to help City progress
The Man City star, pictured with wife Michele Lacroix, was key to their pursuit of the treble
Henry worked with De Bruyne during his two stints as Belgium assistant coach
The City boss returned to the bench while staring at the ground after the row.
Victory over Real Madrid sent City one step closer to a potential treble, with Guardiola’s side close to retaining the Premier League title ahead of the Champions League and FA Cup finals.
De Bruyne had worked under Henry during the Frenchman’s two spells as Belgium assistant manager.
Henry worked as an assistant to former Belgium boss Roberto Martinez between 2016-18 and 2021-22.
The 45-year-old left the role with Martinez following Belgium’s exit from the group stage at the World Cup in Qatar.
Henry had hailed De Bruyne after the first leg of the semi-final last week, saying the 31-year-old’s brain was the “best” he had seen.
“I think Kevin, his brain is the best I’ve seen,” Henry said. “Because his brain, in some places, I don’t know what he’s thinking sometimes in all honesty. You look at him and it’s like he’s not with us, it can almost be a problem because you’re not on his level.
“I think he’s the smartest player I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s just incomparable, his way of thinking. I saw him for six years now and then with Belgium, you love this man a bit more because I saw things he did in training and in games.
“He’s a perfectionist, amazing. Kevin, his mastermind, I always think of stuff I’ve seen and it’s just from another planet.