Pep Guardiola thinks Kevin De Bruyne can achieve whatever he wants at Manchester City after committing his long-term future to the Premier League leaders.

De Bruyne penned a two-year extension this week until June 2025 that will take him up to a decade with the club if he sees out the terms.

Since signing for City from Wolfsburg in 2015, the Belgium playmaker has scored 41 goals and supplied 76 assists in 176 Premier League matches.

In terms of creativity, that puts him far above his peers, with ex-Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen (51) the only other player to have laid on more than 50 goals during the same period, with former and current team-mates David Silva (44) and Riyad Mahrez (41) up next.

De Bruyne's 535 chances created since his goalscoring City debut against West Ham in September 2015 displays an even bigger gulf, with Eriksen (413) and Mesut Ozil (400) the only other men to reach 400.

Such returns lead Guardiola to believe anything is possible for a 29-year-old who will hope to inspire City to elusive Champions League glory this term, having opened the scoring in Tuesday's 2-1 quarter-final first leg win over Borussia Dortmund.

"We will see from Kevin what he wants to be. His type of player, what he wants will be possible. It depends on him," Guardiola said ahead of Saturday's Premier League home game versus Leeds United.

"I never involved in signing contracts for the players. That belongs to Txiki [Begiristain, City's director of football] and the club, but my personal opinion is I’m more than delighted for the time we've spent together in the past and hopefully, in these two months we still have ahead, we can do a good step forward and in the future.

"If the club and Kevin are satisfied, then if a third person is satisfied, it's me. Congratulations to Kevin, his family and Manchester City."

Such longevity will give De Bruyne the chance to enshrine his place alongside modern City greats such as Silva, former captain Vincent Kompany and outgoing club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

Guardiola concedes players spending such a long time with one team is unusual in the modern era, having himself committed to the longest tenure of his coaching career.

"Yes, it's not normal but some players are not normal," he said. "We are delighted with these players.

"Hopefully they can join more players in this position. I can talk for myself. I’m here five years and I will be two more, in principle, if the situation is going well.

"The club helps us and I'm glad important players like Kevin, who has all the world in his hands and all the clubs would be delighted to have him, decide to stay with us. I think it's a big compliment for all Manchester City."

As usual before facing his old mentor, there were big compliments from Guardiola for Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, who said the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach imbues his teams with a "magical quality" this week.

"I'm overwhelmed, I feel weird. He’s a huge competitor," Guardiola said of the praise.

"He's the most honest person, when I was able to speak with him, I'm pretty sure what he says is what he believes. He doesn't say anything for the media for himself. That's why I'm overwhelmed, everyone knows the admiration and respect – the way he helped me in my beginnings.

"Always he'll be there in my heart and that's why I am always 'wow'. I always feel I don't deserve it."

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.

Kevin De Bruyne has given Manchester City a huge boost ahead of their final push for the quadruple, signing a new contract with the club until 2025.

Since De Bruyne signed for City in August 2015, he has won eight trophies including two Premier League titles.

City are still dreaming of winning the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League as part of a memorable 2020-21 season under Pep Guardiola.

They will now do that safe in the knowledge their 29-year-old playmaker has committed the remainder of his peak years to them.

"I could not be happier," De Bruyne told the club's official website after the deal was signed on Wednesday.

"Since joining City in 2015, I have felt at home. I love the fans, my family are settled here in Manchester and my own game has developed really well.

"This football club is geared for success. It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance, so signing this contract was a straightforward decision. 

"I am playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come."

If there is really even more to come from De Bruyne, City are poised to remain at the top of the game as he has already recorded some extraordinary statistics.

After his new deal, we have looked at some of the best Opta data to highlight his significance to City and the Premier League as a whole.

PREMIER LEAGUE'S BEST CREATOR

De Bruyne has a stellar Premier League record since returning to England's top-flight, where he had briefly represented Chelsea.

After reviving his career with Wolfsburg, he has played in 176 league matches for City and scored 41 times while adding 76 assists.

Over that period, former Tottenham star Christian Eriksen (51) is the only other player to create more than 50 Premier League goals.

City actually hold three of the first four spots, with David Silva (44) and Riyad Mahrez (41) up next, highlighting the free-flowing style of play and dominance of opponents they have often shown under Guardiola.

De Bruyne is far and away the league's best when it comes to chances created as well, with 535 shooting opportunities created for his team-mates.

There is a huge gap to those below. Eriksen once again comes next on 413, followed by Mesut Ozil (400), Willian (368) and Eden Hazard (328).

De Bruyne has played 15 more Premier League games than Eriksen during the period and 32 more than Silva, so does he remain the cream of the crop on a per 90 minutes basis?

Yes.

De Bruyne averages 0.5 assists per 90 minutes, the best rate of any Premier League player to have played at least 38 games since his debut in 2015.

There are some interesting names behind him, with Bruno Fernandes – who is just 44 games into his Premier League career – recording impressive assist figures of 0.43 per game.

A former team-mate of De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, has 0.41 with Dimitri Payet (0.4), Silva (0.36) and Eriksen (0.35) rounding out the top six.

It is only former West Ham star Payet – over a much smaller 45-match sample size – who has created more chances per 90 minutes at 4.41 since the City star debuted.

De Bruyne has maintained an average of 3.53 chances created per game over a 176-game span, putting him ahead of the other top creators English football has seen like Ozil (3.28), Cesc Fabregas (3.04) and Eden Hazard (2.87).

When we move beyond the Premier League to all competitions, De Bruyne has 65 goals and 101 assists for City. Forwards Sergio Aguero (149), Raheem Sterling (112) and Gabriel Jesus (81) are the only players to score more goals than him.

And his assists tally is well clear of anyone else in a blue shirt over that period, with Sterling (64) and Silva (54) the closest to him.

HAS DE BRUYNE SLOWED DOWN?

Knee injuries meant De Bruyne was only able to start 11 Premier League games in 2018-19, so has he slowed down in the two seasons since returning to fitness?

Over that short time period, De Bruyne still stands out as the league's best and has in fact improved his numbers.

He has 31 assists in the last two seasons, including a fantastic 20 in 2019-20 which tied the all-time record held by Arsenal great Thierry Henry.

The second best assister, Son Heung-min (19), sits 12 behind De Bruyne having also played 59 matches over the two seasons.

The only other players to register at least 15 are Fernandes (18), Andy Robertson (17), Trent Alexander-Arnold (17), Jack Grealish (16) and Harry Kane (15).

De Bruyne has set up 209 chances for his City team-mates in two seasons, comfortably ahead of the next best creator in Grealish (166), with Alexander-Arnold (138) way back in third.

On a P90 basis, the Belgium international is setting up goals at a greater rate – 0.59 per game – in the last two seasons than in the first four years of his City career.

The players closest to him for assists in the last two years are Fernandes (0.43) and, perhaps surprisingly, Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi (0.36).

De Bruyne is creating 3.99 chances per match – again meaning he has stepped up his creativity in the last two years.

Remarkably, that is over one full chance clear of any other player, as Grealish (2.87), Pascal Gross (2.86) and Fernandes (2.78) are next among players to have played at least 38 matches since the 2019-20 campaign started.

City have retained the Premier League's best creator over the past six seasons and, in scary news for their rivals, the trends from the last two campaigns suggest De Bruyne is right to say his best may be yet to come.

Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new contract extension at Manchester City through to 2025, the club announced on Wednesday.

The Belgium playmaker moved to the Etihad Stadium in August 2015 for a reported £55million from Wolfsburg and has established himself as one of the most gifted talents in world football during that time.

In his spell at City, De Bruyne has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, four EFL Cups and was named PFA Player of the Year in 2020.

"I could not be happier," De Bruyne told the club's official website.

"Since joining City in 2015, I have felt at home. I love the fans, my family are settled here in Manchester and my own game has developed really well.

"This football club is geared for success. It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance, so signing this contract was a straightforward decision. I am playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come.

"Pep [Guardiola] and I see football in the same way. Having that relationship with a manager is so important to me because our objectives are totally aligned and we want the same things.

"My focus now is on ensuring we have a successful end to the current campaign. Our results and performances so far have been excellent, but we need to make sure we end the season with the silverware we deserve."

At the time of his arrival in Manchester, several pundits questioned City's decision after the Belgium international had previously struggled to establish himself in the Premier League at Chelsea.

But the move has been a hugely successful one for De Bruyne, who has 65 goals and 101 assists across 255 City appearances, according to Opta data.

De Bruyne was the catalyst of City's 2017-18 campaign when they achieved an unprecedented 100 points in the Premier League, with the 29-year-old playing 52 times in all competitions, scoring 12 and assisting 21.

The following campaign was disrupted by injury but De Bruyne still scored six and assisted 10 in 32 games as City completed a historic Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup sweep in English football.

De Bruyne is almost certain to add to his medal haul this term with City 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League, while they are in the EFL Cup final, the FA Cup semi-finals and the Champions League quarter-finals where they hold a 2-1 lead over Borussia Dortmund after Tuesday's first leg – a match in which he scored and played a crucial role in Phil Foden's late winner.

Director of Football Txiki Begiristain added: "This is a very significant moment for this football club.

"Kevin is, without question, one of the best players in world football. His performance level has been remarkably consistent since coming to City, and in the last few years he has developed into one of the game's elite players.

"His talent is unquestionable – but he is also a consummate professional whose dedication to Manchester City during his time here has been nothing short of extraordinary. He constantly seeks to improve, and his approach is the perfect blueprint for any young player looking to carve out a career.

"We are delighted he is our player and I look forward to watching him during his peak years here at Manchester City."

Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new contract extension at Manchester City through to 2025, the club announced on Wednesday.

Jude Bellingham was frustrated to be denied a goal to crown a superb display during Borussia Dortmund's Champions League clash at Manchester City.

Premier League leaders City will take a 2-1 quarter-final advantage to Signal Iduna Park next week after Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute, shortly after Dortmund captain Marco Reus cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne's first-half opener.

But a major talking point came shortly before half-time when teenage midfielder Bellingham caught City goalkeeper Ederson in possession to be presented with an empty net, only for referee Ovidiu Hategan to penalise him for a perceived high boot.

Given the Romanian official blew his whistle before the 17-year-old slotted home, recourse to VAR was not on the agenda.

"I definitely think I won the ball fairly It's a bit frustrating at a time when they’ve got so many cameras watching the game that they don't wait for me to put it in the net and then check it," Bellingham told BT Sport.

"But it's football, it’s life and you've just got to get on with it.

"All I got told is I'd been booked and it was a free-kick to them. Apparently I had my studs up and caught the goalie and it was a foul."

Bellingham was also involved, alongside Erling Haaland, in the slick build-up for Reus' well-taken equaliser and he believes Edin Terzic's Dortmund have reasons to be optimistic ahead of the return clash against City, who have gone out at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons.

"I think we frustrated them well when we had the ball. At times they found it quite hard to break us down and we used the ball quite well, quite efficiently," he said.

"For our goal I think it's a brilliant but of play to put Marco in and it's a great finish.

"We're disappointed to concede so late but we'll use that away goal in the second leg and see what we can do."

Bellingham conceded it was an exhausting experience being pitted against the sublime De Bruyne, whose cross towards Ilkay Gundogan led to Foden's winner in Manchester.

"I'm knackered now. They're brilliant. They're one of the best teams in the world, if not the best," he added.

"The way they move the ball and the way they go to regain the ball after they lose it is world class.

"If you give De Bruyne that much room in the box he's going to score and if you give him that much time around the box he's going to put in a ball that damages us.

"I've got a bleeding knee from chasing him around!"

Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City felt pressure from their previous Champions League failures in a nervy 2-1 quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund.

Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute to ensure the Premier League leaders will take a slender advantage to Signal Iduna Park for next week's second leg.

Marco Reus had equalised four minutes from time for Dortmund, with City struggling to find their fluent best with any consistency after Kevin De Bruyne's first-half opener.

"We felt the pressure today for this competition at home. We don't know how we are going to play," Guardiola told BT Sport.

Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon have ended his team's involvement at this stage over the past three seasons.

"Now we know each other better," Guardiola said. "We are going to analyse what we have to do, like we have done for five or six months, playing every game to try to win."

Dortmund were understandably furious to have had an initial equaliser ruled out before half-time, when the impressive Jude Bellingham was harshly adjudged to have fouled City goalkeeper Ederson before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Guardiola suggested City's struggles that led to that let-off were part of a wider issue with their usually smooth build-up from deep failing to click – highlighting a tough outing for holding midfielder Rodri and full-back Joao Cancelo.

"To play good in the areas that we want, we need to make a good build-up and today was not good," Guardiola said.

"Joao and Rodri were not clever to receive the ball in positions to contact for the other ones. But it’s normal, Dortmund are strong. The quality that they have makes it difficult to do what we want to do.

"We are going to watch the game, now we know exactly what they do and now we are going to adjust a few things to go there to Germany and try to win the game."

Foden shone for his boyhood club throughout and was relieved to atone for a pair of missed chances that preceded Reus' leveller.

"Second half he was a threat for them. He played really well one-against-one, arriving in the final third," Guardiola added.

"He had two or three clear chances to score and finally he scored the goal."

Phil Foden gave Manchester City a slender 2-1 Champions League quarter-final advantage over Borussia Dortmund after Marco Reus snatched an away goal in a frantic finish at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne started and finished a rapid move to put City ahead in the 19th minute, but Dortmund were unfortunate to be behind at half-time after referee Ovidiu Hategan inexplicably penalised Jude Bellingham for a fair challenge on Ederson.

City belatedly hit their stride in the final quarter of the game, although Foden looked like being the villain as he missed two golden opportunities before Bellingham and Erling Haaland combined for Reus to coolly equalise six minutes from time.

Fortunately for the home team, England youngster Foden kept a cool head when Ilkay Gundogan knocked down De Bruyne's majestic cross in the 90th minute.

Pep Guardiola lauded Kevin De Bruyne's masterful midfield display during Manchester City's 2-0 win over Leicester City.

The Premier League leaders took another step towards glory thanks to second-half goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus that only told part of the story of their dominance at the King Power Stadium.

De Bruyne rattled the crossbar with a free-kick midway through the first half and was named man of the match after a majestic throughball scattered Leicester's defence for Jesus' game-sealing effort 16 minutes from time.

"Quite good, huh? It's not the first time he has done it," Guardiola said reacting to that contribution during his post-match news conference.

"Next game he has to score a goal. Next game he is going to do the passes and score a goal.

"Kevin, in this situation, is extraordinary."

De Bruyne also recovered possession 14 times, more than any other City player and won 10 of his 18 duels.

"This is one of our identities. When the most talented players in the world are able to do this kind of job," Guardiola said of the playmaker's selfless contribution.

"There is no negotiation on this. You can play really badly but in terms of running and pressing for your team-mates until the end, we have to do it.

"Do it for your mates, because in the next action your mates are going to do it for you.

"We cannot deny that in the five years we were together the players we had run and fight every single game. That is one of the things I am proud of the most."

This sense of togetherness was underlined by the celebrations that followed Mendy's opener – a strike that appeared to particularly popular throughout the City squad.

"Benjamin is especially beloved by all of us, especially by his team-mates," Guardiola added.

"He is a special person, the way he lives. He has an incredible heart. When a player is honest like he is, the people love him so much.

"He didn't play much lately, today he played and made an incredible goal. The manager must be so good for him to score a goal with his right foot – oh my God!"

Kevin De Bruyne felt Manchester City deserved even more than a 2-0 victory from their dominant display at Leicester City.

The 18-point gulf between Pep Guardiola's champions-elect and the third-placed Foxes was in evidence for large stretches of the game at the King Power Stadium, where De Bruyne was named man of the match.

The Belgium playmaker struck the crossbar with a first-half free-kick but Pep Guardiola's men had to wait until the 58th minute to find a breakthrough – left-back Benjamin Mendy the unlikely goalscorer.

Gabriel Jesus netted for the fifth time in six outings against Leicester to seal the points, the Brazil forward the beneficiary of Raheem Sterling's unselfishness and a majestic De Bruyne throughball.

"I thought it was really good. The first half we totally dominated," De Bruyne told Sky Sports.

"They had the one chance that was offside with [Jamie] Vardy, but basically there was one team playing.

"Second half, Leicester did a little bit better but, if you look at the 90 minutes, it was 2-0 and I think we deserved even more goals.

"After an international break, that's really well done from the team."

Ex-England striker Vardy rolling into the net when he was flagged offside during first-half stoppage time showed how some profligate finishing might have undermined the Premier League leaders' smooth control of proceedings, but De Bruyne insisted they remained calm.

"We created chances, we should have scored but that happens," he said.

"We knew the way they play against us was going to be really difficult. They play really defensive.

"We had to be patient and that what we did. I was very happy for Mendy then to break the deadlock."

Guardiola's side were thrashed 5-2 by Leicester back in September, with this sharply contrasting performance demonstrating the strides made since.

"That was a bad game from us and they deserved to win but that was such a long time ago," De Bruyne added, with Borussia Dortmund up next in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"We've picked it up during the season and done well, so I'm really happy.

"In the end I'm here to provide for the team and if I can set my team-mates up and they finish it I'm happy.

"It's one win more and it's good to get in the rhythm because Tuesday is another game."

Another day, another Erling Haaland rumour.

Haaland's future is dominating headlines amid widespread interest in Europe.

Barcelona are reportedly interested in the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI OUT, HAALAND IN?

Barcelona have identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a top transfer priority if Lionel Messi leaves at the end of the season, according to Diario AS.

Messi is out of contract at season's end and the superstar Barca captain has been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Should Messi depart, Haaland is wanted by Barca and head coach Ronald Koeman, though all eyes will be on Lyon forward Memphis Depay if the former remains at Camp Nou.

Haaland has also been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Liverpool and City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims City are convinced Kevin De Bruyne will sign a new contract with the club. Raheem Sterling's contract is also on the agenda, while soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero will decide his future in the coming weeks. Aguero has been linked with Inter, Barca and Chelsea.

United are set to challenge Madrid in the chase to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres, reports The Mirror. United are keen to bolster their defence amid links with Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.

- Calciomercato says Inter will reject any offers for star Romelu Lukaku. It comes as Chelsea and Barca reportedly eye the in-form Belgian.

Barca are monitoring the future of Valencia star Jose Luis Gaya, according to Diario AS. The captain is negotiating a new contract with Valencia.

- Napoli and Spain midfielder Fabian Ruiz is wanted by LaLiga trip Barca, Madrid and Atletico Madrid, claims Diario Sport.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal are considering a move for Real Betis star Nabil Fekir amid doubts over loanees Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos.

Roberto Martinez was impressed by the way Belgium rallied to secure a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with a "very good" Czech Republic side.

Lukas Provod put Czech Republic in front five minutes into the second half via a rasping drive from 20 yards out at Sinobo Stadium on Saturday.

Belgium hit back to salvage a point in Prague courtesy of Romelu Lukaku's seventh goal in his last six games for his country.

Czech Republic struck the woodwork twice and Kevin De Bruyne hit the post before Tomas Soucek's last-gasp header was cleared off the line by Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld.

The two nations have four points apiece after two Group E matches early in the battle to qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar, with Czech Republic top on goal difference.

Belgium manager Martinez was pleased with the way his team responded to falling behind, having also fought back to beat Wales 3-1 on Wednesday.

"We were put in difficulty by a very good Czech team and we had to adapt, to change our way of playing and responding," Martinez said.

"We were able to react and that's what I will remember from this match. We did not accept the situation after conceding the goal. We have to do better, of course, but I'm pretty happy with the team's reaction."

Martinez revealed Dries Mertens was withdrawn due to a shoulder injury, but was unsure over the extent of the damage.

The Spaniard refused to be drawn on whether in-form striker Lukaku and key midfielder De Bruyne will be rested when the top-ranked side in international football face Belarus on Tuesday.

"We will look at each case separately. We will first regenerate the bodies, because playing three matches in seven days is not easy." he said.

Belgium got their World Cup qualification campaign up and running as Kevin De Bruyne inspired them to a 3-1 comeback win over Wales.

In the first meeting of the teams since Wales' memorable 3-1 triumph in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, the world's number one ranked side fell behind to Harry Wilson's 10th-minute opener.

Gareth Bale was central to Wales' opener, though Belgium's star player subsequently stepped up, levelling proceedings with a stunning effort.

Thorgan Hazard completed the turnaround six minutes later and, after a bright second-half performance from Wales, Roberto Martinez's team sealed a strong start to Group E through Romelu Lukaku's penalty.

Wales suffered a blow when Joe Allen hobbled off injured in the eighth minute, yet the visitors were celebrating a wonderfully worked goal moments later.

Bale was the heart of the 17-pass move, threading a perfect first-time throughball into the path of Wilson, who calmly slotted home.

De Bruyne's sensational right-wing cross handed Lukaku a golden chance to restore parity, only for the Inter forward to blaze over.

Wales' luck did not last, though, with De Bruyne taking full advantage of being given space and time 25 yards out – the Manchester City star's strike clipping in off the right-hand upright.

Wearing the number 10 shirt typically taken by his older brother Eden, Hazard got the assist for De Bruyne's equaliser, and the Borussia Dortmund playmaker turned scorer when he steered Thomas Meunier's cross home.

No stranger to magnificent overhead kicks, Bale could have equalised early in the second half, but failed to make full contact with an acrobatic attempt.

Lukaku saw a shot well blocked with 24 minutes remaining and De Bruyne sliced wide on the rebound.

But Wales' lingering hopes were quashed when Chris Mepham flung a boot at Dries Mertens and Lukaku drilled in from 12 yards to make sure of the victory.

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City's place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City's attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.

The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte's shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.

Pep Guardiola does not believe scars of previous Champions League failures will be an issue for his Manchester City team after they sealed a return to the quarter-finals.

Superb first-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne gave the Premier League leaders a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in Budapest, closing out a comprehensive 4-0 aggregate win.

It means City are back at the stage of the competition where they bowed out in each of the past three seasons, but Guardiola does not feel those defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon will play on his players' minds.

"In the previous seasons I didn't see a team that didn't want to make a step forward. Every time we want to go through," he told BT Sport.

"The eight best teams in Europe, every time the quality is higher and it is more difficult.

"Hopefully the team can maintain this mood and we can compete, and especially do good games.

"When you go through, I always believe it is because you deserve it. You have to play good games.

"What happened in the past is in the past. In the quarter-finals, one bad game, bad moments, bad minutes can punish you."

An improved defence means City look a far more stable side than the one that came unstuck in those harum-scarum quarter-final affairs.

They became only the third team in Champions League history to keep seven consecutive clean sheets after AC Milan and Arsenal, with Porto's Luis Diaz the last player to breach Guardiola's men on this season's first matchday.

"We conceded just one goal against Porto, that is quite impressive," Guardiola said.

"We cannot deny that Ruben [Dias] and John [Stones] made an incredible step forward for the team. But Ayme [Aymeric Laporte] is back again and especially Kyle [Walker] is back at his best moment.

"We need this, but everyone runs a lot, not just the people from behind – strikers and the people in the middle.

"The most important thing is to understand that we defend with the ball."

An influential element in that stability, both in and out of possession, has been Guardiola's deployment of Joao Cancelo as a hybrid full-back/midfielder.

As in the first game against Gladbach, the Portugal international excelled roving in from left-back – a gambit Guardiola was inspired to come up with by the Bundesliga teams he faced while in charge of Bayern Munich.

"It comes from Germany. When you lose the ball they kill you on the counter-attack when the full-backs are wider," he added.

"In Barcelona we had more control in the game with the incredible players that we had. In Germany it was completely different.

"The main reason is to have four, five, six players in the middle to make short passes and have control, this is the reason why.

"And a lot of players with good quality who don't lose the ball. Three left footers with Phil [Foden], Riyad [Mahrez] and Bernardo [Silva], helped us a lot to give us the continuity of the pass and the extra pass."

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