The Champions League is the most coveted competition for any footballer. Manchester City competing in the competition is critical for Kevin De Bruyne.
Reports have emerged that Jadon Sancho’s deal to Manchester United rests on if the Red Devils can qualify for the Champions League next season. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Kevin De Bruyne does not want to spend two years without competing for Champions League glory.
Manchester City was banned from the UEFA competition in February for two years. This was due to breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Specifically, City inflated the value of sponsorship deals from 2012-2016. City has appealed the ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The outcome of the appeal is still pending.
This could see the Citizens miss out on European glory once again. At least their results won’t be the cause this time. In an interview with Belgian outlet HLN, the Belgium midfielder stated that a two-year ban from the competition could see him leave the Blues.
The 28-year-old is at the peak of his career and would be almost 30 years old before City could partake in the Champions League again. Although the midfielder was quick to say that he would not be rash in his decision. He also added that perhaps he could suffer through a one-year ban but definitely not two.
“I’m just waiting. The club has told us that they are going to appeal and that they [are] almost one hundred percent sure that they are right. That’s why I’m waiting to see what will happen.” added De Bruyne to HLN.
The question is how will the Citizens fare without the Belgian midfielder? He currently has 16 assists in the Premier League this season. The next City player on that list is Riyad Mahrez with 8, half of what De Bruyne has produced. He has also contributed 8 goals to City’s Premier League total. Excluding the 2018/19 season, De Bruyne has consistently provided more than 15 assists every season for the past four years. With these stats, his creativity and consistency to deliver when called upon, it is resoundingly clear that De Bruyne plays a key role at City.
In contrast, De Bruyne was injured for more than 50% of Manchester City’s title-winning 2018/19 season. Although it was a close call with Liverpool in the dying seconds of last year’s Premier League season. Pep Guardiola’s men secured their first-ever domestic treble in English football primarily without De Bruyne. However, they did bomb out of the Champions League last year with the midfielder at full strength.
One man cannot carry a team and if City loses their Belgian wizard, they will do what many clubs around the world do; pick themselves up and carry on.