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Premier League, Manchester City – Divine Kevin De Bruyne

Premier League, Manchester City – Divine Kevin De Bruyne

A tenth of a second ago – and it would have been too early. A tenth of a second later – and it will be too late. But the quality of great people is pulling the trigger at the right time, and “The Great” Kevin De Bruyne is one of them. With just the right amount of power in his shot – a slightly more powerful pass, that's all – he sent the ball between the legs of the excellent Sven Botman to deceive the equally excellent Martin Dubravka and turn the tide of a game that looked likely to cost Manchester City three points.

“It's not every day that a footballer who is out of action for five months, except for a short spell against Huddersfield in the FA Cup, is the real player.”“Man of the match” From a match in which he played only twenty-four minutes. Yet it was, even if BBC TNT jury member Ally McCoist favored Rhodri.

There was no shortage of candidates: alongside the Spanish midfielder, Bernardo Silva, arguably the best player in the world and author of the anthology Half Volleyball; Phil Foden, bordering on genius in his new role as No.10; Or, on the Magpie side, Bruno Guimarães, in the oven, in the mill and everywhere else where he is needed.

Kevin De Bruyne was decisive in just a few minutes against Newcastle

Credit: Getty Images

A special relationship with football

Usually, players don't handle this kind of long-term absence well. They are thinking. They suffer more in their heads than in their bodies. But De Bruyne is no ordinary player, and he's not an ordinary man either. He shares this with his former Red Devils teammate Eden Hazard: he loves football, but football does not consume his life. He hates losing, but he doesn't overdo it on the rare times he tastes defeat. It hurts? It's a shame, but it's not so bad, if it means being able to spend time with his wife Michelle and their three children, going on holiday to Dubai and going from home to school every morning like a normal father; He took the opportunity to introduce a new haircut that actually suits him very well.

As former Liège player and Belgian TV consultant Fred Wasig, who has followed young Kevin since his first steps with selection, says, De Bruyne, the man like the player, is “no filter”. When he drifts up the pitch, it shows, as happened in Qatar in 2022. But that doesn't happen often, and that was certainly not the case at Newcastle on Sunday. You can tell how hungry he is – but not so hungry that he might stuff himself. And so is De Bruyne. In similar circumstances, others might have allowed themselves to get carried away with over-enthusiasm, and “do too much”; not him. His twenty-four minutes at St. James's were close to perfection.

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The group collapses, and De Bruyne is accused: behind the scenes of the Belgian crisis

The determination was there, but it wasn't excessive. Every shot had meaning, every gesture had intention. Doku can be found on its forty-metre-wide wing; He takes his time exchanging what you have with Walker on the other side; Providing the only pass that could go beyond Kieran Trippier – whose positioning was impeccable – to make it 3-2 to Oscar Pope in the final breaths of a breathtaking match. It could have been a 'goal pass' for the equaliser. It was simply a matter of making the right decision, nothing more, nothing less. It is no coincidence that his autobiography bears this title Keep it simple“Keep it simple.”

Who will be able to stop City?

The difference is that De Bruyne's simplicity is not the simplicity of Mr. Everyman. It is genius, genius that Pep Guardiola will now be able to rely on until May 19, when no one will be surprised if Manchester City secure their sixth league title in seven years. If the battle is closer than usual, City have a habit of negotiating the second half of the season better than their rivals. Given the form they are showing today, and with De Bruyne back to this form, we can easily imagine them achieving a run of results similar to what we saw in 2018-19 (fourteen wins in the last fourteen days) and 2022-23 (twelve consecutive successes between February and may). Who can do that?

The calendar also looks fairly favorable for the current champions, who will play at home five of the eight games they still have against the other clubs in the top 10. Among these clubs, Arsenal and West Ham did not obtain a single point. Al-Ittihad since 2015, and Aston Villa since…2011. City also look more energetic than their opponents who, in reality, have no squad depth to compare to. The Club World Cup will also do a lot of good for the citizens. Given the class gap separating them from their rivals in Saudi Arabia, Urawa Red Diamonds and Fluminense, this brief sojourn under skies warmer than those in England was more like a mid-season training session than a “real competition”, while all He came from training that was like mid-season training.” The title contenders lost points in their absence.

This return of De Bruyne also has symbolic value – another return: the return of Manchester City in its preferred role, whatever the arrangement today suggests, after a first half of the season during which the Citizens struggled more than usual. We almost forget that Erling Haaland will return at the end of the month. Good luck everyone.