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Last Updated : Jun 11, 2018 05:17 PM IST | Source:

FIFA World Cup 2018: All you need to know about Belgium’s lynchpin Kevin De Bruyne

After helping Manchester City win the English Premier League trophy with 16 assists and eight goals, De Bruyne now has his eyes set on football’s most coveted prize

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Among the many things that Pep Guardiola has achieved during his two years at Manchester City, the transformation of Kevin De Bruyne into a Ballon d’Or contender is sometimes overlooked. De Bruyne was a big Liverpool supporter in his younger days with his bedroom plastered with Liverpool paraphernalia. Always playing football wherever he could, De Bruyne joined Belgian club Genk at the age of 14 and even made his debut for Belgium’s under-21s at the age of 17.

Chelsea soon spotted the immensely talented midfielder and picked him up when he was only 20 years old for a fee that was believed to be just 6.7 million pounds. Chelsea believed they had found a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard, however that was not to be as De Bruyne frustrated by the lack of playing time under Jose Mourinho, left the club for Wolfsburg for a fee reported to be around 18 million pounds. It was at Wolfsburg that De Bruyne truly flourished winning two trophies with the German club and was even named Germany’s Footballer of the year ahead of established stars such as Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer.

His quick thinking, lethal passing skills, burst of pace and composed finishing put him on the radar of Europe’s top teams with Manchester City the first to put their money on him. City signed De Bruyne for a then club record fee of 55 million pounds, money well spent it would seem as De Bruyne registered eight goals and 16 assists this season helping City lift the English Premier title with his commanding performances from midfield.

De Bruyne plays in the centre of midfield and can also fill out several other positions having played on the wing, a false number nine and even as a full back. His versatility is something Belgium’s head coach Roberto Martinez can no doubt bank on. With Marouane Fellaini and Mousa Dembele available to take care of the defensive responsibilities in the centre of the park, De Bruyne could be given the license to roam, a role he has proved most lethal in. Moreover, with forwards such as Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard ready to latch onto De Bruyne’s incisive through balls, Belgium are definitely the team to watch out for in Russia.
First Published on Jun 7, 2018 06:06 pm
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