Kelvin De Bruyne to be among the contenders for Ballon d'Or If Manchester City Win Champions League

Manchester City embark on a Champions League campaign with the Premier League title all but won, Pep Guardiola is aiming to go at least one better than last season. The City manager also believes that his star player, Kevin De Bruyne, is in line for the Ballon d’Or, but only if the side reach the latter stages of Europe’s premier competition and add titles and trophies to go with their impressive displays of football. “No doubt,” said Guardiola when asked if De Bruyne could be in the mix for the Ballon d’Or. “It’s not one game it’s all season, every three days playing that way. But he knows, and everybody knows, that to be there you have to win titles and titles and titles, especially one. “The way he plays it’s difficult to find one [like him] in Europe. But to be there you have to be in the latter stages [of the Champions League], or you will not be nominated.” De Bruyne has the consistency and work rate to go with his immense creative talents which have seen him make more assists than Lionel Messi in the last six seasons. He is the Premier League’s best player, even though he continues to be pushed by the likes of Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane as well as some of his team-mates, including David Silva, who has returned to training ahead of the FC Basel game. The Belgian has played more minutes than most other players operating at this level of performance, and his stamina alone is a part of his game which separates him from the rest. Add to this the pinpoint passing, crossing, and occasional goalscoring and you have a complete midfielder.

He may not be racking up the goals like some of his more attacking counterparts, but his contributions in both attack and defence are far ahead of most other players in Europe, even if the available statistics may not always reflect this. With this in mind, he has to be considered among the best players in the world, and if the club do secure one or more cups on top of the league title which they look set to win, then he has the honours his play deserves. But as his manager says, one of these competitions is particularly important. Guardiola is aware of the club’s history in the Champions League, and that they have only reached the quarter-finals once before. In 2016 Manuel Pellegrini took them all the way to the semis where they were narrowly defeated by eventual winners, Real Madrid. In his first season in charge Guardiola’s side were knocked out by Monaco in the last sixteen in a tie which saw 12 goals across two legs, and resulted in City exiting the competition on away goals. “Now we start in the Champions League, and the first target is to go to the next step forward and achieve the quarter-finals,” he said. “We will try to do better than last season and hopefully we can go through. We will try to be, for the second time in the clubs history, in the quarter-finals.” The Catalan manager believes that his side will have to learn to deal with setbacks if they’re to progress in this season’s competition, and is using the defeat against Liverpool at Anfield as a lesson for his players. “We are in good form but we have to know that the Champions League is another competition, completely different,” he added. “Champions League is about how you control the emotion and how you control the bad moments. “We scored six goals last season in the eighth finals [last sixteen], but we were out. We conceded six because we didn’t handle the bad moments well. “The ten minutes that happen at Anfield, we are out, we are not going to go through. They have to understand we are going to concede chances, we are going to concede goals. It’s about how you handle that situation, and after that try to play as we have played so far.” FC Basel may be seen as one of the easier ties at this stage in the competition, and the expectation will be on City to progress. Guardiola obviously sees this as the start of the European Cup proper, and could start resting players in the league once the title is sewn up. At some point De Bruyne must also be rested as surely he can’t maintain this level of fitness playing every league game throughout the season. With the Champions League reaching the business end, and a World Cup with Belgium to come in the summer, now is the time for De Bruyne get the recognition his play deserves. Come the end of 2018 he won’t be languishing in 14th place on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, how far up he moves will depend on the performances of his club and his nation in the next six months.
Kelvin De Bruyne to be among the contenders for Ballon d'Or If Manchester City Win Champions League Kelvin De Bruyne to be among the contenders for Ballon d'Or If Manchester City Win  Champions League Reviewed by Comr Richard on Monday, February 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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