Kevin De Bruyne continues to inspire as he sets his sights on achieving his Champions League dream with a two-year European ban over Manchester City
- Kevin De Bruyne will desperately add the Champions League to his resume
- It can take two years before he can win if Manchester City fails this year
- The club was banned by UEFA for violating their Financial Fair Play rules
- Although the club will contest the ban with the Arbitration Court for Sport
- Manchester City beat Leicester 1-0 and is now focusing on a collision with Real Madrid
If Kevin De Bruyne ends his career without the medal of a Champions League winner, it would be extremely unfair for those who have seen him set a new standard for Premier League midfielders.
There have been many such missed opportunities in recent decades: Johan Cruijff has never canceled the World Cup and Lionel Messi still has to taste the glory in a big tournament with Argentina. Steven Gerrard has been unable to deliver a top Liverpool title since 1990, while Ronaldo, the attacking genius of Brazil, has never been part of a successful Champions League campaign.
At the current state of affairs, De Bruyne is in the same boat as Ronaldo. The midfield conductor of Manchester City at least has time to rectify the situation, but he will be June 29 and will desperately add club football’s biggest prize to his resume – especially with a possible two-year ban from the Champions League above current club.
Kevin De Bruyne is waiting for two seasons without European football after the ban of his club
The city says they have not violated any rules and will contest the UEFA sentence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But if they approach the Champions League last Wednesday 16, the first match draw against competition specialists Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, the stakes can hardly be higher.
The best players usually win the biggest prizes, but sometimes simple career choices – sliding door moments – mean that they don’t. If De Bruyne was signed by Madrid instead of City in 2015, he would now have three medals for the Champions League winner.
If a player can help City to forget his troubles outside the field and drive to unconquered territory, it is De Bruyne. Here in the 1-0 win in Leicester, he was not as spectacular as on other occasions, but there is a ruthlessness in his performance than some others can match.
Although the home team started to get clearer here and removed the width of a post from taking an eighth minute lead by Jamie Vardy, it wasn’t long for De Bruyne to bend the game to his will.
Floating in the spaces between his fellow Belgians Dennis Praet and Youri Tielemans, De Bruyne was at the heart of everything, sent Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy full-backs to the sides or Bernardo Silva and former Leicester attacker Riyad Mahrez played in promising positions .
Just before the break, De Bruyne released Sergio Aguero for a glorious broken finish, only for the purpose of being correctly excluded from offside.
De Bruyne will desperately add the biggest prize of club football to his resume this season
At the start of the second half, De Bruyne slipped into the Leicester box after Youri Tielemans was caught by Rodri, cut into it and struck a low blow that Kasper Schmeichel seemed best in his near post. Somehow the Dane adjusted his balance and kept it out.
When City continued to dominate possession, De Bruyne played a fantastic back that freed Mendy near the six-yard box. Again, Leicester’s dedicated defense kept the ball out of the goal.
When Aguero missed from the penalty area after Praet was rightly punished for handball after a VAR check, City could have forgiven her for thinking that this would not be the case.
Manchester City won a 1-0 win over Leicester thanks to a goal from Gabriel Jesus
With players like De Bruyne on the field, however, there is no such thing as a lost cause, not a matter of settling for a draw. Time and again he devoted himself to Leicester’s defense and kept his teammates focused on the cause.
And yes, finally the goal came. Mahrez stormed in from the right flank and dropped the ball to replace Gabriel Jesus, who took the ball early and beat Schmeichel up close.
Real Madrid has the individual talent to do more damage to the city than Leicester, but with De Bruyne in the ranks of City they will believe they can win.