Kevin De Bruyne recognises talent. After plying his trade early on at Chelsea before moving to Germany for a spell with Wolfburg he had the pleasure of playing with some good players and some big name personalities with reputations. De Bruyne (who is a relatively still a young player) moved from Wolfsburg to Manchester City for a price tag of £55 million pound whereas his current team mate Raheem Sterling came from Liverpool for a price tag of £44 million. De Bruyne, after his brief and unsuccessful time with Chelsea was well aware of the growing reputation of Sterling who was setting the Premier League alight with Liverpool.
De Bruyne has said “Before I came to Manchester City, I didn’t really know what to make of this Raheem Sterling guy” the Belgium midfielder wrote in a piece in The Players Tribune.
“I had never met him, and from what I’d read about him…I thought he was going to be a very different character. “The tabloids were always claiming that he was arrogant. So I guess I thought he’d be … what do the English call it? “A bit of a d***head, maybe?”
“They said Raheem was this flashy guy who left Liverpool for money. They said I was ‘the Chelsea reject’. They said we were difficult characters. “Then I got to City and I actually met Raheem, and we’d talk a bit after training, and I thought, ‘Wait, this guy seems really cool? What’s the story here?’
“I really got to know Raheem, and I recognised what a smart and genuine person he is. He couldn’t be more different. “This is the real truth: Raheem is one of the nicest, humblest guys I’ve met in football.”
A glowing endorsement for a player whose perception was that of an arrogant but intelligent footballer who would often speak out about his views on racism within the sport. Recently his outspoken views on this subject have seen him earning much praise and this player could possibly be one of the great pioneers for anti-racism within football in his lifetime.
Combined with his form on the football pitch and being one of Manchester City’s leading goal scorers the England international is one of the leading contenders for the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year Award.
If he can keep injury free then Kevin De Bruyne has a very good chance of joining Sterling on this list. De Bruyne has also said that,
“Raheem and I have this strong connection, because we arrived at City around the same time, and there was a lot of negativity about us in the press”. The Belgian also stated,
“When I was at Chelsea, there was so much in the press about my relationship with Jose Mourinho but the truth is that I only ever spoke to him twice. “I thought maybe Chelsea would let me go (in the summer of 2013) but then Mourinho texted me (to say) ‘You are staying. I want you to be part of this team’. “I started two of the first four games of the season, after the fourth game that was it. I was on the bench, and I never really got a chance again”
So what was Chelsea’s loss eventually became Manchester City’s gain as De Bruyne found himself in a much better situation in Germany with Wolfsburg. Strong displays caught the eye of Manchester City and the rest for now is history.
De Bruyne this season has been very unfortunate with injuries and his mental strength and durability have been tested to its limits. De Bruyne doesn’t give you the impression that he enjoys not being involved in games and he has described that watching football matches from the stand is basically torture for him. In an age where young Premier League footballers are multi- millionaires it is refreshing to see a player with the thirst, hunger and desire to do the job that he is being paid well enough to do. De Bruyne goes on to say,
“Even at funerals, I don’t cry. But if you take football away from me? Forget it. I can’t cope”.