Fans of Manchester City are certainly no stranger to number 17. With his exceptional dribbling, passing and shooting ability, the midfielder is generally considered to be one of the best players alive today.
He has been described by many experts as a complete player. While he may wear number 17 on his jersey, in the hearts and minds of the fans of Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne is without a doubt number one!
In the summer of 2015, De Bruyne signed on with Manchester City for a record 54 million.
Since that time, he has helped the club win two Premier League titles, four League Cups, and one FA Cup. In the 2017-18 season, De Bruyne led the way as Manchester City became the first Premier League team in history to reach 100 points in a single season.
On September 17, 2016. Teammate Pep Guardiola was quoted as saying:
“I think he is a special, outstanding player. He makes everything. Without the ball he is the first fighter, and with the ball he is clear. He sees absolutely everything.”
It takes a certain winner to be described that way.
Just a few days ago, Kevin De Bruyne celebrated his twenty-ninth birthday in typical fashion: by leading his team to victory over Newcastle United, and guaranteeing Man City a trip to the FA Cup semi-finals.
After the game, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce had nothing but flattering things to say.
“Manchester City are an outstanding team, you saw that when we tried to press them in the second half. You saw that for the second goal. We made it a bit of a cup tie but for long periods it didn’t feel like that. I was a lot more pleased with us in the second half.”
After the conclusion of the game, De Bruyne was being interviewed by a media outlet. Steve Bruce took this opportunity to make a joke.
“He’s (Bruyne) going to stay here. This is an exclusive out of New Castle tonight. He’s had enough of Manchester City and he’s going to come play for New Castle.”
De Bruyne was clearly a little embarrassed by Bruce’s joking comments. While the star player eventually laughed it off, you have to believe that more than a few hearts came to a sudden stop in Manchester City when they watched that particular interview.
In recent years, a new tradition of sorts has emerged in the Premier League, one that has brought with it a certain degree of controversy. Opponents of the most recent champions show their respect by standing aside and applauding them as they take the field.
There is obviously a certain degree of embarrassment associated with this practice. However, despite the potential discomfort, Man City plans to honor this new tradition when they meet Liverpool early in July.
Danny Murphy, the former midfielder for the Liverpool squad, made his feelings known regarding this practice in an interview with talkSPORT.
Murphy said he feels this new tradition is “nonsense.” He then further stated that he believes Liverpool’s current roster of players is “unfit to lace the boots of Kevin De Bruyne.”
Strong words from Mr. Murphy. “It’s a perception of respect, ‘the right thing to do,’ the message you’re trying to send to the football world that when somebody wins, you show respect and grace.
The fact City will be doing it on Thursday shows humility, saying ‘well done’ to Liverpool and appreciating their quality. I think it’s a load of nonsense! I don’t know where it started and why it started, I would feel uncomfortable doing it. I’d do it because I have to, but I wouldn’t want to do it, because it’s not done with sincerity.
If I was a Liverpool player and the United won the League, you know they’re better than you, you respect that and you’re trying your best to be like them, so they know you respect them.
The fans don’t want you to do it, the players don’t really want to do it, it’s all for effect and doesn’t mean anything. Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder, probably, in the world, and he’s clapping his hands and giving a guard of honor to players who can’t even lace his boots!
And if I’d won it, by the way, if I was walking through, I’d feel uncomfortable. I understand why the powers that be created because it does give off the right message to those watching. But I don’t see the point.”
While Mr. Murphy’s feelings are certainly valid, the ‘point,’ as he puts it, is clear: although Kevin De Bruyne may be the best midfielder in the world, he can only remain the best as long as other players try their hardest to be better.
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