Kevin de Bruyne once again proved himself as one of the best players in the world as he inspired Manchester City to a 4-3 win over Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final first leg.
The Belgian had gone slightly under the radar this season by his own very high standards, entering March with just seven goals and four assists across the Premier League and Champions League going into March, in a campaign that had been hampered by injury.
That’s not to say he hadn’t been good, as his performances often transcended the basic metrics, but he was being overlooked for the awards. However, since the start of March, De Bruyne has taken his game to another level scoring five goals and providing four assists in eight matches in the Premier League and Champions League, helping Man City lead the title race of the former and reach the semi-finals of the latter.
And against Real Madrid on Tuesday it was another fantastic performance in a big game.
2021/22 Champions League outright odds
|Club||Paddy Power||888Sport||Sky Bet|
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Unnerved by the occasion, a Champions League semi-final in front of their fans (having played last season’s behind closed doors), it took De Bruyne just 93 seconds to give Man City the lead against the record European champions. It was an excellent finish from the Belgian too, running into the box unnoticed to get his head onto the end of a brilliant cross from Riyad Mahrez for Man City’s fastest ever Champions League goal.
De Bruyne has now scored 12 goals in the Champions League, nine of which have come in the knockout stages of the tournament. Real Madrid were already on the list from the 2019/20 last 16, but Los Blancos are joined by Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid in conceding to De Bruyne in knockout football.
But he wasn’t done there. Less than 10 minutes later De Bruyne was added an assist to his goal, finding Gabriel Jesus in the box with a powerful pass, slicing through the Real Madrid defence. And those watching on went wild for his performance, dubbing De Bruyne as one of the best players in the world.
“He’s the best Prem midfielder ever – I reckon Scholes Gerrard and Lampard would admit it too,” one Twitter user said.
he’s the best prem midfielder ever – I reckon Scholes Gerrard and Lampard would admit it too
— Finn (@Finn62226650) April 26, 2022
2022 Ballon d’Or odds
|Karim Benzema favourite||8/15 with Paddy Power|
|Other contenders||Paddy Power|
|Kevin De Bruyne||13/2|
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“Every true football fan knows that Kevin De Bruyne deserves the Ballon d’Or,” added another.
Every true football fan knows that Kevin De Bruyne deserves the Ballon d’Or. pic.twitter.com/qMyB3smif3
— Tem. (@TotalCiteh) April 26, 2022
“Kevin de Bruyne showed Modric who the best midfielder in the world is.”
Kevin de Bruyne showed Modric who the best midfielder in the world is. pic.twitter.com/Cmq58LE92Z
— ⁹ (@JesusRoIe) April 26, 2022
“Kevin De Bruyne is going down as one of the most clutch footballers to play the game man, I’m so in love with this man.”
Kevin De Bruyne is going down as one of the most clutch footballers to play the game man, i’m so in love with this man
— ¹⁰ (@SxrgioSZN) April 26, 2022
Late in the game two pitch invaders made it through the Etihad security to reach De Bruyne, leading to this tweet.
“De Bruyne gets two separate pitch invaders racing up to him to say hello/get a selfie, and in fairness his performance deserves that sort of respect.”
De Bruyne gets two separate pitch invaders racing up to him to say hello/get a selfie, and in fairness his performance deserves that sort of respect
— Sam Lee (@SamLee) April 26, 2022
And there was some final appreciation from Manchester City Women captain Steph Houghton, who dubbed De Bruyne the best player in the world.
She tweeted: “What a night! What a game!
“Boys were unreal! Kevin De Bruyne best player in the world right now!”
— Steph Houghton MBE (@stephhoughton2) April 26, 2022
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