Kevin De Bruyne capped off another memorable season for Manchester City with career-best 19 goals apart from 14 assists and was rightly chosen as the Premier League’s Player of the Season for 2021-22. Earlier this week, he was among the six footballers nominated for English Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Player of the Year award too.
De Bruyne is also a frontrunner for the prestigious Ballon d’Or alongside Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
Despite a stellar campaign that culminated in City winning the Premier League trophy, De Bruyne will not win Ballon d’Or award anytime soon, feels Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal.
“Kevin De Bruyne, of course. For me, that’s the winner of the Ballon d’Or,” the Netherlands manager said ahead of his side’s UEFA Nations League match against Belgium.
“But he won’t be chosen any time soon,” he added.
Van Gaal then explained that France Football, which presents the award for year’s best footballer, only prefers attackers and since De Bruyne is a midfielder, it’s highly unlikely that the Belgian will lay his hands on the trophy.
“They always pick attackers. In that respect, Noa Lang has a better chance than De Bruyne (laughs),” Van Gall quipped.
In the past 15 years, Real Madrid Luka Modric has been the only midfielder to have won the Ballon D’Or in 2018 with the duo of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hogging the award otherwise. Since Modric, the award has been handed out just once – in 2021 – with Messi winning a record-extending seventh trophy.
The award wasn’t handed out in 2020 owing to the covid pandemic with Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski being the clear favourite. There were suggestions that the next trophy should be awarded considering a two-year period since it was cancelled in 2020.
“If I have to choose, I’m looking at the two-year period, so I’d choose (Robert) Lewandowski for what he has done the last two years, goalscoring wise. He’d be my pick,” De Bruyne had said.
Meanwhile, De Bruyne has come down heavily on the format of UEFA Nations League. “For me, the Nations League is unimportant. We have to play those matches, but it’s a kind of practice campaign,” he said in an interview.
“Everyone has had a very tough season. As soon as we are on the field, we do what we have to do. Then I want to win. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about it. We have nothing to say about it. As players, we can talk about vacation or rest, but we have no say. We follow what we need to do and that’s it,” he added.