It is business time in the Champions League as the 2020-21 semi-finals get under way with the first legs this week.

Chelsea visit Real Madrid, who have seen pre-match questions focus on their continued pursuit of the controversial European Super League.

In the other tie, Paris Saint-Germain are the only remaining outfit not to have signed up for the competition prior to its collapse, gaining favour with UEFA.

They have a tough ask against Manchester City, however, after Pep Guardiola's men collected their first piece of silverware this season in the EFL Cup final.

Using Opta data, we break down the two matches...

Real Madrid v Chelsea: Los Blancos yet to beat Blues or Tuchel

When English football fans consider their country's most-consistent representatives in the Champions League, Chelsea will not be the team that immediately springs to mind for most.

Yet this will be the Blues' eighth semi-final appearance at this stage of the competition, a record among Premier League sides, and they have every reason to feel positive about the Blues' chances here.

They have only lost the first leg in one of their previous seven Champions League semis and head into the tie in good shape domestically, with Thomas Tuchel inspiring a significant improvement in their fortunes since taking over in January.

The German was in charge of PSG as they lost in last season's final to Bayern Munich but boasts a strong record against Madrid, having faced them more often without losing in this competition than any other side (W1 D3). The only other coach to take them on as many times in the Champions League and not lose is Gerard Houllier (P4 W2 D2).

Further to that, Madrid's record against Chelsea is poor, as they've not won any of their three previous meetings. Los Blancos haven't faced any other side more often without winning in their entire history.

A key factor in Chelsea's run to the semis has been their solidity at the back, and Edouard Mendy has more than played his part.

The Frenchman has let in just two goals in his first nine Champions League matches; if he keeps a clean sheet on Tuesday, he will match the record set by ex-Madrid man Keylor Navas for fewest conceded in a goalkeeper's first 10 games.

Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City: Pep back in the big time

If Madrid and Chelsea are vastly experienced at this level, the same is not exactly true of PSG and City. The Ligue 1 club are playing their third Champions League semi-final, while this is City's second.

Indeed, City have only progressed through one of their prior three semis in all European competitions, winning the Cup Winners' Cup on that occasion in 1970.

PSG are finally getting to grips with UEFA's premier club tournament, however, becoming only the third French team to reach the last four in consecutive seasons - after Saint-Etienne 1975-76 and Marseille 1990-91 in the European Cup - and bidding to be the ninth side to play back-to-back finals.

They will require a first win over City to get there, though, drawing two and losing the other of their previous three meetings. Only against Juventus (eight), Arsenal and Milan (both four) have PSG played more games without winning in their history.

And Guardiola, having finally returned to this stage, has the know-how his players might lack. This a record-equalling eighth Champions League semis appearance, level with Jose Mourinho.

Mauricio Pochettino, then Tottenham manager, eliminated Guardiola in their only past European clash two seasons ago at the quarter-final stage, although the Catalan coach has 10 career wins against the PSG boss.

Pochettino will rely heavily on Neymar, who has either scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his previous three Champions League last-four outings, while Guardiola can turn to Kevin De Bruyne, with four goals and four assists across his past seven knockout appearances.

De Bruyne scored in both legs when City beat PSG in the 2015-16 quarter-finals and could join Neymar (four), Lionel Messi and Marcus Rashford (both three) in netting against the Parisians in three consecutive Champions League games.

Harry Kane will start the EFL Cup final for Tottenham against Manchester City, with Kevin De Bruyne back for the holders at Wembley.

England captain Kane suffered an ankle injury during last Friday's 2-2 draw at Everton, after scoring both Spurs' goals in a match that proved to be Jose Mourinho's last at the helm.

The 27-year-old was yet to resume training on Friday but interim boss Ryan Mason has selected Kane alongside Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura in a three-pronged attack.

City playmaker De Bruyne, whose 24 goal involvements this season are more than any of this team-mates, suffered a similar complaint to Kane as the Premier League leaders went down 1-0 to Chelsea in last weekend's FA Cup semi-final.

He sat out a 2-1 midweek win at Aston Villa but is back as Pep Guardiola's side chase a fourth consecutive success in this competition.

Despite having a Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain coming up on Wednesday, Guardiola has not made the wholesale changes that partly explained a poor City showing against Chelsea.

Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez are all retained in the starting XI, with Raheem Sterling completing the forward line.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero are back in training ahead of Manchester City's EFL Cup final showdown with Tottenham on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's side are aiming to win the trophy for a fourth consecutive season, returning to Wembley eight days after a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.

The pain of that defeat was compounded by star midfielder De Bruyne hobbling off with an ankle injury, although the problem is not as bad as first feared.

De Bruyne sat out Wednesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa but resumed work with Guardiola's first-team squad alongside Aguero.

City's all-time record goalscorer has endured a final campaign at the Etihad Stadium beset by knee and hamstring issues after meniscus surgery last June, while he also suffered the effects of coronavirus.

"Both [De Bruyne and Aguero] they are training today," Guardiola said, meaning each man appears to have better prospects than Harry Kane, who was unable to take part in Tottenham's Friday session.

"Today was the first training session after the last two weeks [for Aguero]. Tomorrow he will have the last training session and we are going to decide."

Final successes in the past three campaigns over Arsenal, Chelsea and Villa mean City can become the second team in history after Liverpool between 1981 and 1984 to lift the cup for a fourth season in a row.

However, as was the case in the Chelsea reverse, Guardiola hinted there might be wholesale changes as he casts an eye towards Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

"We've said many times. every game must be taken seriously. But the Premier League is the most important competition this season. After that it is the Champions League, the FA Cup and after the Carabao Cup," he said.

"When you play this competition at the beginning of the season when every player is fit, it is perfect to rotate and everybody can be involved.

"We have to play right now in the middle of the decisive part of the season. I would say the Premier League is the first title of the season and the second to qualify for the Champions League – ask all the teams who are fighting to qualify for next season.

"Once we are there and arrive in this position, normally the Carabao Cup is over, but now we are going to play [the final] in the middle part of the important part of the Premier League season. And three days before, like a dream come true at the end [of the season], we play the semi-final of the Champions League."

Guardiola added: "That’s why we have a mix of contradiction; that it's a final we have to win, but we have one eye on the Champions League and one eye on Crystal Palace [in the Premier League next weekend].

"Carabao Cup is nice - we want the four, we will play to win the fourth. But PSG and Palace are there and PSG [in the second leg] is there. We'll see what happens on Sunday."

Kevin De Bruyne could return to action for Manchester City in Sunday's EFL Cup final against Tottenham after his ankle injury proved not to be as serious as first feared.

De Bruyne limped off early in the second half of last weekend's 1-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea, with City manager Pep Guardiola saying the damage "doesn't look good".

The Belgium international was absent as his team-mates came from a goal down and endured a red card for John Stones to beat Aston Villa 2-1 and go 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Appearing visibly relieved before the match in the aftermath of the European Super League collapse, Guardiola reported further good news afterwards when De Bruyne's fitness was raised.

"It [the injury] was less than we expected, yesterday he felt much, much better," he said.

"Today I didn't speak to him but we'll see tomorrow in training."

After attempting to win a fourth consecutive EFL Cup on Sunday, City turn their attentions towards the first leg of a Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

"I think if he's not ready for the final, maybe he will be ready for the semi-final of the Champions League," Guardiola said.

Before Wednesday's game, an email attributed to City chief executive Ferran Soriano was sent to club members to apologise for signing up to the swiftly aborted Super League.

Guardiola lambasted the plans as "not sport" before anyone from his club had gone on the record, although he insisted his relationship with Soriano – which goes back to the pair's time together at Barcelona – is not in need of repair.

"I know the guys [on the board] and they don't need to apologise," he said.

"My chairman [Khaldoon Al-Mubarak] and CEO, I know who they are, this is most important. I understand the statement but it's a closed chapter, it's over."

The same might now be said for the Premier League title race, even if John McGinn's goal after 20 seconds threatened to let second-place Manchester Untied back into the hunt.

"It would have been dangeorus if we'd lost, Manchester United are in top form, but we deserve it for what we've done this season," Guardiola added, with man of the match Phil Foden equalising before Rodri headed the decisive goal.

"How incredible they were in the locker room, committed after two defeats. We knew how important it was as preparation for the final and the Champions League.

"It's close in the most difficult season of our lives. We have to finish this chapter, three games and we are champions."

Pep Guardiola expressed huge reservations over any closed-shop competitions that remove the relationship "between effort and success" after plans for a European Super League were announced on Sunday.

The Manchester City boss insisted he needed more information about the tournament before making a full judgement, but admitted he was against the concept of a format that involved hand-picked clubs and no open means of qualification for other teams.

City are one of the six Premier League teams to have signed up to the continental breakaway league, which has attracted a deluge of criticism from across the sport and beyond.

Speaking ahead of City's top-flight clash with Aston Villa on Wednesday, Guardiola faced questioning over a development that has dominated the headlines since being made public.

"Sport is not a sport when the relation between the effort and reward doesn't exist," he said. 

"It's not sport when success is guaranteed, when it doesn't matter if you lose. I want the best competitions as strong as possible. In this statement, it's what I feel. This is not sport."

Kevin De Bruyne's ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea "doesn't look good", according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

The Belgium international went off in the 48th minute as City's quadruple hopes were ended by Hakim Ziyech's second-half goal in a 1-0 defeat at Wembley on Saturday.

De Bruyne will undergo tests on Sunday to determine the severity of his injury, with the EFL Cup final against Tottenham coming next weekend and the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain following three days later.

Asked about De Bruyne's status, Guardiola told a news conference: "He has pain now. Tomorrow they are going to make a test with the doctors. It probably doesn't look too good but tomorrow we will see what he has."

De Bruyne was one of only three City players to retain their place in the starting line-up from the midweek victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Guardiola rejected the suggestion that his widescale rotation signified a lack of respect for the FA Cup.

"We had two days to recover [after Dortmund] and played away and had to travel by train for three hours [to Wembley] and everyone deserves to play, but don't say we don't pay attention," said Guardiola.

"A team that arrives in the final stages of all competitions couldn't say that. This team won four finals in a row in the Carabao Cup, so just say we lost the game and when we lost the game the decision is bad. But it's such a poor argument.

"We wouldn't get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup or the final of the Carabao Cup and semi-finals of the Champions League if we didn't pay attention. This team always plays to win.

"It was a tight game. Congratulations to Chelsea, they're a top side. But if you believe we didn't pay attention, what would happen if we won today with eight changes? Say it before the game, say 'Pep doesn't pay attention' or 'the players don't pay attention'. Don't just say it after because we lost a game.

"These guys in 10 months, 11 months fight every game like I've never seen. We lose a game against a top side and now we don't pay attention or care about this competition? We respect a lot the FA Cup, we play to win."

Hakim Ziyech sent Chelsea into the FA Cup final for the fourth time in five seasons by securing a 1-0 victory over Manchester City, who lost Kevin De Bruyne to injury.

After finishing as runners-up to Arsenal last season, Chelsea have a chance to go one better thanks to Ziyech's 55th-minute strike against the Premier League leaders at Wembley on Saturday.

His goal arrived just seven minutes after De Bruyne went off with an ankle issue – a concern for Pep Guardiola with the EFL Cup final and first leg of City's Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain to come this month.

Ziyech was unable to beat Zack Steffen and get a second before the hour mark, but one goal was enough for Chelsea to finally beat City at the new Wembley at the fourth attempt.

From the early stages both teams appeared eager to try to exploit the counter-attack, but Chelsea looked the more dangerous in those situations.

Ziyech had a goal chalked off inside six minutes because Timo Werner was offside in the build-up, while Ben Chilwell scuffed a volley wide from a brilliant Reece James cross.

James failed to work Steffen with an effort of his own, meaning Gabriel Jesus' hopeful 20-yard effort that was caught by Kepa Arrizabalaga was the first half's only shot on target.

De Bruyne appeared to get hurt after tangling with N'Golo Kante three minutes after half-time and was replaced by Phil Foden.

Matters deteriorated for City in the 55th minute, when Mason Mount released Werner and he squared for Ziyech to steer the ball into an empty net.

A terrific, raking pass from Chilwell gave Ziyech a chance to double his tally four minutes later but Steffen stayed big to keep him at bay.

Chelsea lost Thiago Silva to a back injury late on but they saw out the victory comfortably, even with Christian Pulisic's stoppage-time strike being correctly chalked off for offside.

 

What does it mean? City's quadruple hopes over

Guardiola has long insisted that winning the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League in the same season is not possible.

In a season with increased fixture congestion due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is impressive that City still had a chance to complete the feat in April.

However, Guardiola was beaten by Thomas Tuchel for the first time in their sixth managerial meeting and suffered an FA Cup semi-final defeat for the second straight season.

Ziyech makes the difference

It was at times tough to watch with both teams looking to do damage in transition, but Ziyech was more threatening than anyone when the chance to run in behind arose. He was in the right place to score the winner and on another day could have had a hat-trick.

De Bruyne blow

City remain in the hunt for trophies on three fronts this season but may be set for a period without midfield talisman De Bruyne after he appeared to sustain an ankle injury. He created two chances in just 48 minutes on the pitch and City missed his midfield mastery.

What's next?

Leicester City or Southampton will face Chelsea in the final in May. More immediately, the Blues take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Tuesday, with City travelling to Aston Villa the day after.

Manchester City talisman Kevin De Bruyne was substituted shortly after half-time in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea with an apparent ankle complaint.

De Bruyne, keeping his place from the midweek Champions League win at Borussia Dortmund despite eight City changes, appeared to tweak his ankle in a tussle with N'Golo Kante.

The midfielder was quickly replaced by Phil Foden, the match-winner in Germany, as City take no risks ahead of a key stretch in the season.

Pep Guardiola's side are still chasing silverware on four fronts, bidding to reach the FA Cup final ahead of next week's EFL Cup showpiece against Tottenham.

They are in pole position for the Premier League and into the last four of the Champions League.

Only Thomas Muller (18) has more assists than De Bruyne (16) in all competitions this season among all players in Europe's 'top five' leagues.

He ranks fifth for chances created (101) and has also scored eight times.

Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are preparing for home quarter-final legs knowing only victories will give them a chance of reaching the Champions League last four.

Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital last week, the scoreline matching that of the 2018 final, when Zinedine Zidane won the trophy for the third year running.

Of course, the Reds have history of famous Anfield comebacks, most notably two years ago when Barcelona were stunned on Merseyside after winning the semi-final first leg 3-0.

Dortmund are also in need of a spirited display. Marco Reus' away goal gave them a foothold in the tie against Manchester City, but a late winner from Phil Foden at the Etihad Stadium means the Premier League leaders have the advantage.

Still, if Dortmund repeat the result of the last time they hosted City in this competition, they will be going through...

 

Liverpool v Real Madrid (1-3 on aggregate): History on Zidane's side

Liverpool's unforgettable 4-0 win over Barcelona was one of two instances out of a possible 11 where they have progressed in a knockout tie after losing the first leg by two or more goals.

They beat Madrid by the same scoreline in March 2009 at Anfield, but Los Blancos' most recent visit to Merseyside ended in a 3-0 win in October 2014. They are now on a run of four consecutive wins over Liverpool.

Given Madrid have scored in each of their previous 23 Champions League knockout games, and the fact they have won 15 of the past 16 ties where they won the first leg by at least two goals, they would appear to be in a very strong position.

If Liverpool are to produce another turnaround, Mohamed Salah will almost certainly be key. His goal in the first leg means he has scored in each of his previous four appearances in the competition, and he could become only the second Liverpool player – after Steven Gerrard in 2007-08 – to do so in five.

Luka Modric is also chasing a small slice of history. The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner has provided an assist in three Champions League games in a row; since at least 2003-04, no Madrid player has ever managed to set up a goal in four consecutive games in this competition.

Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City (1-2 on aggregate): Haaland the main threat to Guardiola's record

Pep Guardiola lost three of his first five meetings with Borussia Dortmund but is unbeaten in his most recent seven, while City have only failed to progress twice in 15 European knockout ties after winning the first leg.

However, Guardiola endured the most recent of those eliminations, with Monaco upsetting City in his first season in charge in 2016-17. In fact, in Champions League history, the team to win the first leg 2-1 at home has been eliminated (15 times) more often than they have progressed (12).

It really could be a game of fine margins. If Dortmund repeat the scoreline from their only previous home game against City in December 2012 (1-0), that will be enough to send them through. However, City have kept clean sheets in four consecutive away games in the competition; another on Wednesday will guarantee their semi-final spot and see them become the first side to record shutouts in five games in a row since Manchester United a decade ago.

Inevitably, all eyes will be on Erling Haaland. The Norway star has only failed to score in three of his 15 Champions League appearances and has never drawn a blank at home for Dortmund, hitting seven in just four games.

Haaland has been tipped to replace Sergio Aguero at City next season, but this could be a chance for the Argentina striker to underline his legacy: a goal here will take him to 37 in the competition, the most of any player for a Premier League club. Aguero likes Bundesliga opposition, too: 11 of his 36 goals have come against sides from Germany, more than he has managed against teams from any other nation.

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!"

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