Champions League win would 'change the perspective' of Manchester City, says De Bruyne

By Sports Desk May 03, 2022

Kevin De Bruyne says winning the Champions League would "change the perspective" through which people view Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola's team prepare to face Real Madrid in the second leg of their semi-final tie.

De Bruyne opened the scoring in City's thrilling 4-3 first-leg win over Carlo Ancelotti's team at the Etihad Stadium last week, but Karim Benzema's double means the encounter remains in the balance.

The Belgium international has won 10 domestic trophies since joining the club in 2015, though European success has so far evaded Guardiola's men, who lost last season's final to 1-0 to Chelsea.

Before travelling to the Santiago Bernabeu for Wednesday's second leg, the in-form playmaker, who has contributed 15 goals and 12 assists in all competitions this term, acknowledged a European title would alter the way the club is viewed.

"It would change the perspective," De Bruyne, who went off injured in last year's final, said at a pre-match news conference. "As a player, you want to win trophies, and we want this one.

"We have fought for it for numerous years and been to the latter stages, and we have been doing well.

"Obviously, it’s a cup competition and the quality is really high, so it's very difficult to win it and there are different circumstances, but if you look at how we have performed in the last seven years, we've done really well. If we win it, it would change the narrative."

However, De Bruyne refuted claims that the team needed to win the competition, highlighting the quality of City's competitors and saying he was happy with his own accomplishments.

"For myself. It doesn't change how I look at myself as a player. I know what I have done: good and bad in my career. I'm pretty happy with what I have done," he added.

"Obviously, I want to win every trophy but that's a hard task. I would obviously love to win the Champions League."

De Bruyne has registered 18 Champions League assists since making his first City appearance in the competition in September 2015, a tally that is only bettered by Neymar (25) and Kylian Mbappe (20) during that time.

Meanwhile, City's first-leg success over Los Blancos was only the second semi-final first leg in Champions League history to see seven goals scored (along with Liverpool 5-2 Roma in 2017-18), but the midfielder said his team would need to be at their best to make their advantage count.

"I think if we play the way we played last week, we have the potential to be one of the best teams, but we have to show that," he added. "If we play below that, Madrid can win because they are also one of the best teams, and the quality they have is amazing.

"But I back my team to perform at the high level needed to win the game. I think we are in a very good way. The fact we have not won it yet is the only criticism we can get. The rest, we have been there loads of times, fighting to win it.

"I remember when we played [against Madrid in the 2015-16 semi-finals] it wasn't the greatest end to the season. Madrid was a powerhouse at that time. We are in better shape now. I think we are a better team with a better set-up, we play better, and we have more experience. Hopefully, we are better prepared.

"It's two attacking teams who like to play football. We played a very good game [last week] but that's in the past. We have a different game ahead of us tomorrow and it starts back to 0-0 so we need our A-game to win."

City have won their last three Champions League matches against Los Blancos – only two sides have ever won four in a row against them in European competitions, with Ajax doing so between 1973 and 1995 and Bayern Munich replicating that achievement between 2000 and 2002.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Djokovic takes his tennis 'up a notch' as he serves up Centre Court drubbing Wimbledon: Djokovic takes his tennis 'up a notch' as he serves up Centre Court drubbing

    Novak Djokovic warned Wimbledon title pretenders his game is improving with every round as he eased past fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Centre Court.

    Defending champion Djokovic won 6-0 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes to book a last-16 clash with Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven.

    The 20-time grand slam winner will carry out due diligence on Wimbledon rookie Van Rijthoven, who is through to the fourth round on his debut and has reeled off eight successive wins.

    Van Rijthoven won the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships in the lead-up to this fortnight, stunning world number one Daniil Medvedev in the final.

    Yet on the form that saw Djokovic crush Kecmanovic's hopes, Van Rijthoven will surely stand little hope of going any deeper into the tournament.

    Djokovic won 88 per cent of points when landing his first serve in court, and he has now reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on 14 occasions, a performance only beaten in men's singles by Roger Federer (18) and Jimmy Connors (16).

    "I thought I started off very, very well, very strong with a lot of good intensity, good focus," Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

    "Honestly, I think I've been playing better and better as the tournament progresses, so that's something you wish for as a player, that every match you play you raise a level of tennis up a notch, at least, and I think that's what is happening at the moment.

    "I know I can always do better, I always expect the highest from myself, and so far, so good, and I'm looking forward to the next challenge."

    Data slam: Familiarity breeds familiar outcome

    The battle of these Davis Cup team-mates was always unlikely to go the way of the 25th seed, and so it proved that Kecmanovic could not cope with the animal that Centre Court brings out in Djokovic.

    This was a third career meeting in tournament action for the pair, with both previous encounters having come at the Serbia Open. Kecmanovic took the opener against Djokovic before slumping to defeat when they played in Belgrade in April, but this was a rout, the 22-year-old underdog trampled.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Djokovic – 36/19
    Kecmanovic– 13/27

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Djokovic – 6/4
    Kecmanovic – 1/5

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Djokovic - 6/12
    Kecmanovic - 1/4

  • Wimbledon: Isner breaks Karlovic's ATP Tour ace record Wimbledon: Isner breaks Karlovic's ATP Tour ace record

    Another big-serving display from John Isner at Wimbledon means he now has the most ATP Tour aces on record.

    Ivo Karlovic – one of only two tennis stars taller than the giant Isner – had set the benchmark with 13,728 across his career, the most since aces were first tracked in 1991.

    But Isner has chipped away at that total over the course of this week at the All England Club.

    The American's 54 aces in five sets against Enzo Couacaud in the first round made him the first player to pass 50 in a grand slam match since he had last done so versus Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

    And there were a further 36 in an epic second-round win over Andy Murray, leaving Isner just four short of matching Karlovic and five away from passing him.

    Against Jannik Sinner, in Friday's third round, Isner raced past his target, tallying 12 aces in the first set alone.

    It is a record Isner is likely to own for some time, with 43-year-old Karlovic absent from the ATP Tour this year and playing only six main-draw matches in 2021.

    Roger Federer is third on the list, way back on 11,478.

  • Salah ready to 'go for everything' with Liverpool as Reds star makes 2025 commitment Salah ready to 'go for everything' with Liverpool as Reds star makes 2025 commitment

    Mohamed Salah landed a bumper new contract through to 2025 and vowed to repay Liverpool's belief in him by firing Jurgen Klopp's Reds to more trophies.

    Uncertainty over the Egyptian forward's future had lingered for months, with no clear sign of a breakthrough in negotiations between the club and the player's representatives until a deal was announced on Friday.

    With Sadio Mane being allowed to leave for Bayern Munich since the end of last season, the importance of securing Salah was ramped up, and now the 30-year-old has confirmed he will stay at Anfield.

    He could have walked away at the end of the 2022-23 season on a free transfer, had he not agreed to new terms, but that worrying prospect has been quashed.

    With at least three years more to come of his Anfield career, Salah is convinced he and Liverpool can enjoy huge success in that time.

    They threatened a quadruple last term before just missing out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race and losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, having already pouched the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

    Salah said of his new deal: "It takes a little bit of time, I think, to renew, but now everything is done so we just need to focus on what’s next.

    "I think you can see in the last five or six years the team was always going [upwards]. Last season we were close to winning four, but unfortunately in the last week of the season we lost two trophies.

    "I think we are in a good position to fight for everything. We have new signings as well. We just need to keep working hard, have a good vision, be positive and go for everything again."

    In an interview for Liverpool's official website, Salah spoke of the departure of Mane to the Bundesliga and the arrival of Uruguayan frontman Darwin Nunez from Benfica, as manager Jurgen Klopp shuffles his pack.

    "I'm so excited, I want to play with him," Salah said of Nunez. "He had a good season last season and played well against us home and away [in the Champions League].

    "Sadio's leaving, and I'm going to miss him, he had great seasons with the club, so I wish him all the best, and I wish Darwin also all the best to score many goals for us."

    Salah had a stellar 2021-22 campaign, finishing level with Tottenham's Son Heung-min in the race to be the Premier League's top scorer, while also managing the most assists in the competition, racking up 13 to finish one ahead of team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

    It was the third time that Salah has won the Premier League's Golden Boot, having also been top scorer in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

    He won the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year awards, and taking all competitions into account finished the campaign with 31 goals and 15 assists in 51 appearances, creating 87 scoring chances.

    Across his five-season Liverpool career to date, Salah has managed 118 Premier League goals, at an average of one every 126 minutes, a league-best for players who have played at least 100 games in that time.

    Salah had been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but Friday's announcement means the former Roma and Chelsea forward's stint with Liverpool is far from over, as he prepares for a sixth season with the Reds.

    In a message to supporters, Salah said Liverpool would "try to win all the trophies" in the new campaign.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.