Kevin De Bruyne's six years at Manchester City so far
Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new contract extension with Manchester City, which will see him stay until 2025, 10 years after he first joined the club.
It speaks volumes about the club and how happy he is at City, that he signed this contract extension, without an agent - conducting discussions by himself and using the specialist assistance of sports lawyers in Belgium and his father, Herwig De Bruyne.
Who would have thought that back in 2015 when City signed De Bruyne, he would become the player he is today? Paul Merson certainly didn't, the Sky Sports pundit said:
"Manchester City paying so much money for Kevin De Bruyne is an absolute joke. I thought he was out of his depth at Chelsea. He never once went out on the pitch and looked like he belonged there. I don't think he could handle it - and now he's going to City for about three times what Wolfsburg paid for him. Not for me."
How did that one work out, Merson?
(KDB liked this post on Twitter)
De Bruyne joined the blue side of Manchester with the reputation that he was a Chelsea reject, when he leaves the Premier League, he will have a reputation as one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the country and European football in general.
De Bruyne's Time At City So Far:
Premier League (x2)
FA Cup (x1)
League Cup (x4)
Community Shield (x1)
Man City POTY (x3)
Champions League TOTY (x3)
UEFA TOTY (x3)
PFA TOTY (x2)
Premier League POTY (x1)
PFA POTY (x1)
Premier League Playmaker Award (x2)
It's quite the honours list when you lay it all out like that, and it's only going to get bigger. With City the Premier League Champions in waiting, he will equal City legends, Yaya Toure and Frank Lampard's tally of three Premier League titles.
De Bruyne could further extend his trophy cabinet this season, as he has helped guide his side into a Carabao Cup final, for the fourth season in a row, and an FA Cup semi-final for the fourth time in five years.
The one trophy he is desperate to win is the Champions League, which is one of the reported conditions of his new contract - that City will do everything they can to secure the prestigious trophy.
Make no mistake about it, there are several reasons as to why Pep Guardiola's side have failed in the Champions League so far, but De Bruyne is most certainly not one of them.
He is 'Mr Champions League' for City, he has iconic performances against PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid and even a hat trick of assists in *that* game against Tottenham Hotspur.
The news of De Bruyne's contract is well-timed, as it was announced the day after he dropped a Man of the Match performance in the Champions League quarter-final first leg, to add to the list above.
The Belgian spearheaded City to a 2-1 win against Erling Haaland's Borussia Dortmund, scoring the opening goal of the game and then producing an outrageous pre-assist for the 90th-minute winner by Phil Foden.
City's transfer targets were also reportedly discussed within the contract negotiations and De Bruyne was left satisfied with what City have planned for the summer and beyond.
Since arriving in Manchester, the 29-year-old has a ridiculously impressive goals catalogue and an outrageous assists catalogue, is it even possible to decide which is the more impressive?
City fans will not need to remind you that some of De Bruyne's best passes have not resulted in assists, through no fault of his own.
So why don't we take a look at the best of the best?
De Bruyne's Top Five Goals
#5 - Chelsea Away (17/18)
In all honesty, you could put this list in any order you like and no one could have any complaints, but what better way to start the list than with a weak footed goal against the side who didn't believe in your talent?
De Bruyne returned to Stamford Bridge and walked away with all the bragging rights. His side played one of their best games of the season, from start to finish and it was topped with a thunderbolt into the top right corner of Thibaut Courtois's net, with his weak foot from outside the box.
The goal was made even more special by the Belgian's celebration as he ran straight to the away fans with no hesitation.
#4 - Swansea City Home (17/18)
This time, at the back end of the 17/18 season, De Bruyne was a huge contender for Player of the Season, only to be just beaten by Liverpool's Mohammed Salah, but boy did he put on a display worthy of the award.
The Belgian was by far and away City's best player in a record-breaking season, but his goal against Swansea topped off his already stellar campaign.
The midfielder struck the ball from outside the box and it just glided into the top left corner of the goal. Despite being hit with so much power, the finish looked so elegant at the same time.
#3 - Borussia Monchengladbach away (20/21)
After nearly six years of De Bruyne, City fans know by now that the central midfielder has no weak foot, but that doesn't stop the amazement when he scores a worldie with his left foot.
City were already in a comfortable position in the Round of 16 tie against Gladbach, but that didn't stop De Bruyne from taking matters into his own hands and putting the game beyond any doubt.
The Belgian let the ball come across his body and waited for the perfect moment to strike it with his left foot. The powerful shot shattered the crossbar and went in, for yet again an extremely brilliant goal.
#2 - Leicester City Away (17/18)
Arguably the best of De Bruyne's weak foot finishes came in 2017, not that long after his strike against Chelsea. His side were already 1-0 up at the time but the £55m man wasn't happy with that scoreline.
The attack didn't look all that dangerous after Leroy Sane was unable to pick out a pass in the middle of a heavily guarded Leciester box, he cut it back to De Bruyne who took one touch to control, another touch to move it onto his left foot and then he took his shot.
The ball was hit with that much power that it was in the back of the net before Kasper Schmeichel could even get close to it.
#1 - Newcastle United Away - (19/20)
The 19/20 season wasn't *all* doom and gloom, arguably the biggest highlight was De Bruyne's performances, so much so that he was awarded the PFA POTY award.
City were drawing 1-1 with Newcastle at St James' Park and up stepped De Bruyne (of course) to score one of the most sensational goals ever, by a City player. It didn't mean too much in the end because the hosts got one back, to end the game 2-2, but the goal was just phenomenal.
De Bruyne chested down Paul Dummett's clearance, let the ball bounce and then connected perfectly with it on the half volley from outside the box. Martin Dubravka was at full stretch and he could only get a fingertip to it, to touch it on to the bar, but fortunately for the Belgian, that made no difference to the outcome.
It won the goal of the month for November 2019 and quite rightly so, even though the team were not performing at their best, De Bruyne stepped up once again, this time to produce something out of this world.
Now let's move on to what De Bruyne is most known for, assists!
De Bruyne's Top Five Assists
#5 - Arsenal Away (16/17)
This one may have gone under the radar a bit, especially with it being in a season that wasn't particularly a good one for Pep Guardiola's side. Just because it isn't posted on Twitter or spoken about as much does not mean it is any less quality.
The technique and ability to pull off this pass is just something unheard of. After just five minutes of the game starting De Bruyne volleyed a loose ball, first time, through Arsenal's midfield and defence and set Sane on his way through on goal, who went around the goalkeeper and finished into an empty net.
Astonishingly, this assist isn't spoken about more than it is, but what do you expect with a man with one of the best catalogues of assists football has ever seen.
#4 - West Ham United Home (20/21)
This one is a bit more recent than the others, but as soon as Ruben Dias headed the ball into West Ham's goal, you knew the assist was one for the history books.
The once Bundesliga Player of the Season had just returned from a month out on the sidelines and was thought as not being at his best; De Bruyne doing De Bruyne things proved them all wrong with an outstanding assist.
#3 - Leicester City Home (17/18)
Now, in this game, De Bruyne got a hat trick of assists and he and Aguero had to fight for who received the match ball at the end of the game, so it could be any of the three, as they were all great, especially the first two.
The first assist was a cross from the right-hand side of midfield which found Sterling at the far post perfectly. But that isn't the one that makes the list.
The one that makes the list is him setting Aguero up for the second goal of the game. A nice one-two with Raheem Sterling just outside the box left De Bruyne with still an awful lot to do.
City's main creator had to adjust the angle of his body to the point where he curled the ball around the back of the defender directly in front of him, but then also made it curl too far away from the oncoming interception from Harry Maguire.
You can tell just how special this assist was just by the description, but even then it still doesn't actually do the pass any justice.
#2 - Centurions (17/18)
It looked like all hope was lost for City's charge for 100 points, they had attempted to break down Southampton for 90 minutes and failed. It went well into injury time and there was one last chance for Guardiola's side to do something no other Premier League side had done before and who else would provide the assist?
De Bruyne dropped deep to collect the ball, way inside his own half, he spotted the run of Gabriel Jesus and found him perfectly. Brazil's #9 was able to control the ball and keep it in his path, before lobbing the goalkeeper and wheeling away in celebration.
An iconic moment in City's history and just as much, the Premier League's history, is all because of a world-class assist by a world-class player.
#1 - Stoke City Home (17/18)
This assist is well regarded as De Bruyne's best assist and it is hard to dispute that claim. Earlier on in the game, he had produced a sensational no-look, pre-assist for Sterling, who was squared the ball by Sane, the receiver of the freak pass by the Belgian.
In the second half, as if City hadn't humiliated Stoke enough already, De Bruyne got on the end of a loose pass by Jesus, just by the right-hand side touchline. He then took a few touches to set himself up for something no one other than he could have seen.
He spotted his teammate, Sane, right at the other side of the pitch and he curled a beautiful pass all the way through to him at the edge of the six-yard box on the left side. The pass had to go through FIVE Stoke players before it reached its destination, yet that didn't put De Bruyne off.
Now, that's enough of rounding off some of his best moments in a Sky Blue shirt. Here are all of De Bruyne's assists (as of 06/01/21) in a City shirt, the range of assists will leave you speechless.
The news comes at a particularly low time for City fans, despite being on track for a potential quadruple and inevitably winning their third Premier League title in four years. The announcement of Sergio Aguero's departure at the end of the season is still quite raw, therefore the news of De Bruyne staying longer will be music to City fan's ears.
So as one City legend is about to bow out, the other is only halfway through his career in Manchester and has a lot more to offer.
Here's to many more years of Kevin De Bruyne, ladies and gentleman.