De Bruyne at Man City: Chelsea trips and Madrid masterclass among games to remember

By Sports Desk April 07, 2021

Kevin De Bruyne is staying at "home" after Manchester City announced he has extended his deal with the club.

The Belgian playmaker – who arrived from Wolfsburg in August 2015 – has signed for a further two years, meaning he will remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.

There have already been plenty of highlights in a City career that has included two Premier League titles, one FA Cup success and four triumphs in the EFL Cup.

Stats Perform News has picked out some of the most memorable peformances from De Bruyne, who has made a habit of producing his best in the biggest games, both domestically and in Europe.

 

Towering over the Parisians – Manchester City 1 Paris Saint-Germain 0 (April 12, 2016)

De Bruyne instantly established himself as a vital member of Manuel Pellegrini's City team with four goals in his first five starts, but an ankle ligament injury in January 2016 proved damaging as their Premier League title challenge faded. He had regained form and fitness by the time a Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain came around. fA clinical opener with City under pressure during the first leg set in motion a gripping 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes and there was little to choose between the sides in the return until De Bruyne took aim from the edge of the box and sent the Etihad Stadium into raptures.

Slaying Messi and company – Manchester City 3 Barcelona 1 (November 1, 2016)

Pep Guardiola deployed De Bruyne as a striker at Camp Nou – a move that backfired in a 4-0 loss as goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off. In the return Champions League group game, Lionel Messi crafted a majestic opener. Barca conceded an equaliser to Ilkay Gundogan, leaving De Bruyne to bend the game to his will – crashing in a free-kick after the break, while rendering the visitors' feted midfield overmatched and overrun time and again before being the catalyst for midfielder Gundogan's game-sealing third.

Happy return to Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1 (September 30, 2017)

A frustrating spell at Chelsea yielded a mere two Premier League starts before De Bruyne pushed for a move to Wolfsburg. His fruitful time in the Bundesliga, where his efforts in 2014-15 saw him named Player of the Year, and subsequent brilliance for City showed that to be a wise career choice. De Bruyne enjoyed a moment of sublime vindication at Stamford Bridge when he strode forward, exchanged passes with Gabriel Jesus and arrowed an unstoppable left-footed shot beyond compatriot Thibaut Courtois.

Masterclass leads to seventh heaven – Manchester City 7 Stoke City 2 (October 14, 2017)

In the rare event of a team netting seven goals it is unusual to find supporters repeatedly chanting the name of a player who failed find the net. That is exactly what happened as City hammered Stoke: Jesus (twice), Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Fernandinho, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva were all on target, yet it was creator-in-chief De Bruyne who captured the imagination and adoration of the crowd. "They have De Bruyne, who is head and shoulders above any player in the Premier League in my view… because of the way he can dictate and effect the game," said Stoke boss Mark Hughes.

Classy cameo helps make it a treble – Manchester City 6-0 Watford (May 18, 2019)

City made history as they completed a domestic treble in the 2018-19 season, an achievement made even more impressive by the lengthy absence of De Bruyne, who started just 11 league games in a campaign hampered by injuries. However, the Belgian showed his class during the FA Cup final against Watford, even though he was only introduced into proceedings as a 55th-minute substitute. He scored a goal and created another as Watford were crushed 6-0 at Wembley Stadium, with De Bruyne named man of the match for his outstanding contribution off the bench.

Capital gains with Emirates double – Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City (December 15, 2019)

City were vulnerable in the first half of the 2019-20 season in the Premier League, though De Bruyne did not let his own standards slip for the faltering champions. He tormented poor Arsenal at Emirates Stadium and was comfortably the best player on the pitch, including scoring two of his side's three first-half goals. A Gunners team led by caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg simply could not cope as De Bruyne dominated. It was his delivery that set up Raheem Sterling to score, though a slight deflection on the cross denied him an assist, much to his frustration.

Real deal helps City hit back – Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City (February 26, 2020)

City rallied to defeat Real Madrid for the first time in their history in the first leg of the last-16 tie, vindicating Guardiola's tactics. Jesus occupied a wide role as De Bruyne was utilised as a false nine, a position that allowed him to have a major impact on proceedings. Isco put the LaLiga side ahead on the hour, only for the visitors to flip the game on its head in the closing stages. De Bruyne set up Jesus' equaliser, then calmly tucked away a penalty to reach 50 goals for the club. It was the first time he had both scored and assisted in the same Champions League fixture.

City produce red-hot spell to sink Blues – Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City (January 3, 2021)

Once again, Guardiola's decision to deploy De Bruyne in a more advanced role paid off. A COVID-19 outbreak meant City were shorthanded at Stamford Bridge, though this was the early stages of an irrepressible run of form that turned a potentially intriguing title race into a procession. They scored three goals in the space of 16 first-half minutes as Chelsea were cut open, De Bruyne's pinpoint pass through Cesar Azpilicueta's legs allowing Phil Foden to make it 2-0. He added the third himself, converting the rebound after Sterling had hit the post for a fourth goal against his old club.

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    Seven not heaven for Messi

    Lionel Messi had seven attempts on goal, including when he hit the post with an audacious effort directly from a corner towards the end of the first half.

    No Barcelona player had more shots, but Messi could not find a way through in what could potentially be his final tangle with Madrid in this famous fixture.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has now gone seven Clasicos in all competitions without scoring – the longest drought of his career against Los Blancos.

    Simply the Benz

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    His sensational backheel flick to convert Lucas Vazquez's 13th-minute cross was a finish that is sure to be cherished for years to come.

    Benzema has now scored in his past seven LaLiga games, netting nine times overall during this period.

    The Frenchman is the fourth Madrid player in the 21st century to have scored in seven consecutive top-flight outings after Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

    Kroos ends dead ball torpor

    From Ronaldo to David Beckham, Madrid have rarely been shy of free-kick specialists.

    It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Toni Kroos' strike on Saturday made him the first player in white to score a direct free-kick in El Clasico this century.

    Sure, it deflected off Sergino Dest and bounced off Jordi Alba's head on the goal line, but they all count. Right, Toni?

    Mignueza opens his account

    Oscar Mingueza endured a torrid first half as Vinicius Junior ran him ragged, but the Barcelona defender bounced back after the break.

    Mingueza appeared in the Madrid penalty area to convert when substitute Antoine Griezmann dummied Alba's cross.

    The previous Barca defender to score on his first appearance in El Clasico was Marc Bartra in the 2014 Copa de Rey final.

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    Mingueza was also involved in another key moment, when Casemiro fouled him outside the Madrid box in the final minute of normal time.

    That earned the combative Brazilian his second booking and only the second sending off of his Madrid career.

    During this time, Casemiro has committed 478 fouls in all competitions. All in all, not a bad ratio.

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