Pep Guardiola has tipped Kevin De Bruyne to become a future Ballon d’Or winner but insists that Manchester City must win trophies to put the Belgian in the running for the award.
De Bruyne continues to impress for club and country, registering a hat-trick of assists to help the Citizens claim a 5-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.
The 26-year-old has 11 goals and 18 assists in all competitions this season for Man City, who remain in contention for four trophies and boast a sizeable lead at the top of the Premier League table.
“There is no doubt about that,” Guardiola, asked about De Bruyne’s Ballon d’Or credentials, is quoted by The Express as saying.
“It is not one game, he is playing that way every three days over the whole season. The way he has played this season it is difficult to find anyone better in Europe.
“But he knows – as everyone knows – that to be there [win the Ballon D’Or] you have to win titles, titles, and more titles. Especially the Champions League. You have to be in the latter stages or you will not be nominated.”
De Bruyne has 77 assists since making his debut for Werder Bremen in August 2012, one more than Lionel Messi in the same period and the most by any player in Europe’s top five leagues.