Manchester City has played Real Madrid in the Champions League’s knockout stage in three of the last four seasons, and Kevin De Bruyne has scored each time.
Kevin De Bruyne’s shot flew like a bullet, skimming just above the turf in a line not different to Carlos Alberto’s noble thing for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup final.
Of course, this was no title match for Manchester City it was the first leg of the Champions League semifinals but with the eyes of the world on the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, it sure felt like one.
Who differently, also, should step up but De Bruyne, the man who delivers for City on the big occasion time and again.
The Belgium playmaker looked to the sky and raised both his arms before performing a rare knee slide after his long- range equalizer for City in the 1- 1 draw against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
De Bruyne knew how significant the thing was. How good it was, too.
City has played Real Madrid in the titleholders League’s knockout stage in three of the last four seasons, and De Bruyne has scored each time. And against Atletico Madrid last time, City won 1- 0 after two fiery matches in the quarterfinals and it was De Bruyne with the only thing.
His pretensions in the final stretch of this season, as City chases the Premier League- titleholders League- FA Cup treble, have come against Liverpool, Arsenal( two pretensions) and now Madrid.
In only one of his last eight games has De Bruyne not scored or had an help.
Erling Haaland has earned utmost of the cheer of late because of a scoring record not seen in the ultramodern period in English football, but bolstering it all is De Bruyne with his art and creative genius.
Perhaps this is the season when De Bruyne gets his career- defining moment in the titleholders League.
Until now, the unforgettable image of him in the competition is from the 2021 final, when he staggered off the field before the hour mark of City’s underwhelming 1- 0 loss to Chelsea with a shattered eye socket and a broken nose following a clash of heads with Antonio Rudiger.
To say De Bruyne has untreated business in the Premier League is an understatement. He couldn’t be doing any further to get his platoon back into the final.
And he appears to have gained new confidence in the final months of a season that took a worrying turn during the six weeks incontinently after the World Cup, when De Bruyne — English football’s player of the time in 2020 and ‘ 21 was dropped for some matches and megacity director Pep Guardiola went public with his review of the midfielder’s performances and condition.
Still, it has worked, If that was a tactic to shake De Bruyne out of his torpor.
Now he either plays as the most attacking of City’s central midfielders, running out and before Haaland against brigades similar as Arsenal last month who press high up the field. Or he has to take a deeper position against opponents content to sit back and defend, counting rather on his delivery from out wide or long- range shots.
“We see it every single day in training — you wouldn’t choose anyone differently for it to fall to, ” City winger Jack Grealish said of De Bruyne’s 25- cadence strike from Ilkay Gundogan’s lay- off at the edge of the area.
Seven of De Bruyne’s 14 pretensions in the titleholders League have come from outside the area.
Stop Haaland in the penalty box and brigades still have De Bruyne to deal with outside it.
That’s the challenge facing Madrid in the alternate leg at Etihad Stadium coming week. Know More Latest Football News…