Two years would be long – De Bruyne may consider Man City future if Champions League ban is upheld

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is waiting to see if the club's Champions League ban is upheld before making a call on his future.

Published : May 03, 2020 13:10 IST

Kevin De Bruyne applauds the away support at the Santiago Bernabeu
Kevin De Bruyne applauds the away support at the Santiago Bernabeu

Kevin De Bruyne applauds the away support at the Santiago Bernabeu

Kevin De Bruyne may have to consider his Manchester City future should the club's two-season ban from the Champions League be upheld, though he has no immediate desire to leave the club.

De Bruyne has been in sensational form for City this season, though football seasons across Europe have either been placed on hold or cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Prior to the suspension of matches, De Bruyne played a starring role as City took a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid in the away first leg of its Champions League last-16 tie.

It remains to be seen whether City will be able to compete in UEFA's flagship club competition over the next two campaigns, with the club having been banned due to breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

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Pressed on whether the ban could impact his future at City, De Bruyne suggested a two-year suspension could lead to him considering his options, though he has faith in the club winning its appeal against the sanction.

"I'm just waiting," said De Bruyne in a video interview with HLN Live . "The club has told us that they are going to appeal and that they are almost one hundred percent sure that they are right. 

"That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team. Once the statement is made, I will review everything. 

"Two years [without European football] would be long, in the case of one year I might see.

"But I'm very happy with City. I play for one of the best teams in the world, play in England – for my competitive view the best competition – and I like that. 

"It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that too. What is coming is coming."

Pep Guardiola's future at City is also in doubt, with the former Barcelona boss' contract set to expire in 2021.

De Bruyne, though, refuted the suggestion a decision on his next move will depend on whether or not Guardiola remains at City.

"Not particularly. I think Pep says he will take his year of contract anyway, then his contract ends," De Bruyne said.

"But I'm not going to let my decision depend on what Pep is doing. Of course I have already worked with other coaches and when Pep leaves, I have to continue working with someone else. 

"But I haven't really paid much attention to that for the time being. There are more important things at the moment."

Reports emerged on Saturday claiming Roberto Martinez had extended his contract as coach of the Belgian national team, a move welcomed by De Bruyne.

"The choice was his. Maybe he would have done something different if the European Championship was played this summer. But we have a project, which is far from complete. Stopping now would be weird. It seems logical to me that he renews his contract," De Bruyne said.

"Everyone is happy to stay longer. Why is he a good coach? Well, Martinez has a lot of experience. 

"Tactically, he has learned a lot in England. He let us play in a fixed system, and that works. The team has grown in recent years."

-'Premier League will return for financial reasons'-

The Belgian believes financial imperatives will force the Premier League to complete the 2019-20 season.

Reports in the UK this week suggested a June 8 restart behind closed doors is on the agenda.

Representatives from England's top clubs met on Friday to discuss the proposals put forward in the so-called 'Project Restart', including safety and testing procedures designed to minimise risks to players and staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester City star De Bruyne expects to be back in training by the middle of this month, even if playing matches at neutral venues without fans does not full him with enthusiasm.

"My feeling says that we may be able to train again within two weeks," he told HLN . "The government wants to restart football as soon as possible to give people something. 

"Everything will be finished without fans, I think. That is not really interesting for anyone, but this season will be finished.

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"The financial aspect is far too important in the Premier League. If the season is not finished, it will cause serious problems."

Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie have cancelled their seasons, although the Premier League currently stands alongside the Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A in intending to reach a conclusion.

City striker Sergio Aguero told El Chiringuito this week that many players were "scared" to return to action because of the increased risk posed to their families, something De Bruyne – whose wife is expecting their third child – understands.

"Everyone will be tested once we start playing again," he said.

"I don't think [players] are really afraid for themselves, but for their family. That is mainly the problem for many people."

The Belgium international was enjoying an exceptional campaign individually.

He has eight goals and 16 assists in the Premier League this term, while his man-of-the-match performance inspired City's 2-1 win at Real Madrid in the first leg of a last-16 Champions League tie that is yet to be completed.

"You are in a rhythm and you have to stop suddenly," he added. 

"When the league resumes, I don't really see this as an extension of the season. This feels more like the start of a new season. 

"I have never stood still for so long in my career. Well, I'm not going to make a problem of it. Greater powers are at work. Whatever is said and decided, I agree."

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