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De Bruyne in search of career-defining Champions League title

Kevin De Bruyne may still fall short of a crowning, career-defining title that will place him comfortably among the top stars of his generation.

With Belgium’s “Golden Generation” falling short frequently, he may never make it to the international stage, and being a serial winner of domestic trophies with Manchester City will not be enough for many – even if, apparently Basically, be it to De Bruyne himself.

So, is it in the Champions League where his big moment will come?

“Obviously,” said de Bruyne, “winning it will change the narrative.”

It’s been a tale of pain and massive underachievement so far in Europe’s top competition for the 30-year-old playwright, whose shoes on the back of his head and magic in his eyes.

Just last year, De Bruyne didn’t last an hour in his first Champions League final before he needed help off the field – dazed and confused – with a fractured nose and eye in a clash with Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. After retaining the socket. De Bruyne was subdued In one match City lost 1–0 in Porto.

In 2020, he was part of the City squad that was surprisingly defeated by Lyon in the quarter-finals.

“We need to learn,” de Bruyne later murmured.

And in 2019, he didn’t even start against Tottenham in the first leg of the quarter-finals, which City lost 1-0 before being pulled out in painful circumstances a week later.

Even this season could prove to be a missed opportunity. City beat Real Madrid in the first leg of the semi-finals last week, yet only won 4-3 At Etihad Stadium.

The second leg is on Wednesday and De Bruyne knows the match is in limbo.

“If we play the way we played last week, we have the potential to be one of the best teams (in the world). “But we have to do that again tomorrow night – if we’re a little below that, chances are Madrid can win this game.”

De Bruyne scored the opening goal and set up another against Madrid to continue his inspiring performances of late season. De Bruyne is in great form and looking to step into the big games, after taking time off to get fully fit after rupturing an ankle ligament during last year’s European Championships.

In his last 10 appearances, he has scored against Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League and against both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in the Champions League. Helpers continue to flow past his pinpoint crosses and passes.

The world is still waiting, however, for De Bruyne to make a man-of-the-match performance in a major final such as the Champions League, capping a buoyant résumé at City with only three Premier League titles, six domestic cups. to (FA and League), and back-to-back Player of the Year awards (in 2020 and 2021). For some, it will lead them to greatness.

“For me, I don’t think it changes the outlook as a player,” he said. “I know what I have done well, I know what I have done badly in my career. I am very happy with what I have done. Obviously I want to win every trophy I can get, but It’s a tough job. I would love to win the Champions League.”

De Bruyne was City’s best player to reach the final last year, which included an impressive, goal-scoring performance in the semi-final win at Paris Saint-Germain, which marked the coming of age for the club in the competition.

Under the coaching of Pep Guardiola and thanks to the hefty spending of over a decade of club ownership from Abu Dhabi, City have become a major player in Europe, without any hardware for it.

“I think we are in a very good way,” De Bruyne said. “Obviously, the fact that we haven’t won it yet will probably be the only criticism we can get. I think, for the rest, we’ve been there too many times. We always want to win this competition.” have been fighting.

“The consistency we have as a club is amazing, very good like no other. We just need to try to cross the line.”

De Bruyne is not a typical superstar soccer player. Off the field, he prefers to stay away from the limelight. On top of that, he’s pretty much a team player, with his countless assists giving him more satisfaction than scoring a goal.

Take, for example, 10 days ago, when he missed a penalty chance against Watford in the league to give teammate Gabriel Jesus a chance to complete a hat-trick.

“For him, it was important,” De Bruyne said. “I don’t care if I score that penalty – it’s a goal that doesn’t get me ahead of what I want to achieve.”

Must win the Champions League.

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More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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