Eight years ago today, Kevin De Bruyne joined Manchester City.
Last season, City achieved ‘great things’. They won the English Premier League (EPL) in a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Arsenal and lifted the trophy in the English FA Cup, beating ‘rivals’ Manchester United. In the UEFA Champions League (UCL), a long-standing ambition, the club reached the pinnacle of the competition, beating the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. It was the realization of a long-held goal since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club, and City became only the second English team to win the “treble” after Manchester United in the 1998-99 season. 안전놀이터
Many people played a role in this. The first person to be mentioned is Pep Guardiola. Since taking over from Mansour, City have become competitive in England and won the coveted league title in 2011-12. Manuel Pellegrini also led the team to the top four of the UCL for the first time in the club’s history. However, when discussing City’s history, it’s clear that there are two distinct periods: before and after Guardiola.
Guardiola has completely transformed the team. He took a team that was playing a completely different style of soccer to his own philosophy and slowly transformed it to his liking. In the process, he had to let go of several players who had been committed to the team for a long time, but in the end, it turned out to be a successful move. Under Guardiola, City have built one of the strongest ‘systems’ of any team.
The players have also played a big role. Elling Holland, dubbed a “monster striker,” broke numerous scoring records in his first year at the club and became the de facto ace of the team. In defense, Jubeng Dias was solid, and the unlikely duo of Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji provided a spark. Ilkay Gundogan spent his final season at City with no regrets, while Bernardo Silva made his role as an ‘unsung hero’ clear. World Cup winner Julian Alvarez proved he wasn’t just a ‘Holland substitute’ as he delivered whenever needed.
But there was another player who played the biggest role. It’s The Bruener. He was the only member of the UCL-winning squad to arrive before Guardiola. Since Guardiola’s arrival at City, several players have lost their place and left, but he hasn’t been the only one to remain a ‘key’ player.
In fact, he’s even improved under Guardiola. No longer confined to the position of ‘attacking midfielder’, Der Bruyne was free to move around the pitch and contribute. The attack from his toes became City’s most potent weapon.
The records speak for themselves According to soccer stats site TransferMarkt, Der Bruyne has scored 96 goals and provided 153 assists in 358 games for City. He’s been named Assistants of the Year several times, and in the 2019-20 season, he tied Thierry Henry with 20 assists in the league alone. He’s also lifted dozens of trophies. He has won the EPL five times, the EFL Cup and FA Cup, the Community Shield and UCL, and nearly every other trophy he could have won with the club.
The Brazilian is still the “heart” of City. Although he is currently sidelined with a long-term injury, his presence is even more noticeable when he is not on the field. The pressure is on the players to fill his shoes and the tactics change. A signing that was perhaps even more important than Guardiola’s. Eight years ago, City’s choice will be talked about for years to come.