When France Football announced earlier this week that they would not be giving out the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year, you would struggle to find any fanbase online that has been more outwardly disappointed than the Manchester City one. Sure you might see smatterings of fans from Madrid, Turin, and especially Munich voice their disapproval, but the blue side of Manchester was bracing for the moment when their talisman Kevin De Bruyne would be named the winner of world football’s most prestigious individual award.
There’s no doubt that this feeling was intensified on Tuesday afternoon after the Belgian genius took one step closer to a milestone that many experts surrounding the Premier League thought was nearly impossible to match, that of most assists during a single season. During City’s dominating 4-0 victory over Watford, KDB knocked his 19th assist over to Aymeric Laporte. With that assist, he needs only one more to match the record held by EPL legend Thierry Henry, who claimed 20 during Arsenal’s 2002-03 campaign.
De Bruyne launched a marvelous cross to the City center back midway through the second half on Tuesday, but given his top notch skill he’s displayed over these past several years, it was only par for the course. There’s no question that many fans, even those who dislike City, say that the 29-year-old is the best player in the Prem, and has been for a few years now. While there are a few other potential selections for this year’s PFA Player of the Year award, which is due to be handed out at some point, there’s no doubt that the favorite to win this year is KDB himself.
That little bit of recognition will have to serve as a sort of alternative to the big prize, the Ballon d’Or, that will now not be awarded at the end of the year. Perhaps the only good news that Man City fans can hold on to right now is that he won’t be snubbed in place of someone else this season.
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Featured Image – AP News/Rui Vieira