Mens Team

Made in Belgium: What we learned about Kevin De Bruyne

Made in Belgium: What we learned about Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is a special footballer.

Everyone who has had the pleasure of watching him play knows how good he is, but what is less well known is how he became one of the best midfielders in the world.

CityTV Productions latest feature length documentary, Made in Belgium, does just that, charting De Bruyne’s remarkable rise from his humble small town beginnings to the present day, where Pep Guardiola considers him to be the best midfielder in the game.

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We find out about the shyness of De Bruyne the boy, the forthright views of a talented teenager and the contrasting first impression he made on Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany.

Here are 10 things we learned about the Manchester City midfielder from the documentary, which you can watch exclusively on CITY+ now.

Football focus

De Bruyne has loved football from the earliest stage of his life.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, given what he has achieved, but you understand the driven nature of the present-day player better when you hear the stories of his youth.

His dad Herwig recallsthe young Kevin wanting only one toy – a ball – whilst his primary school teacher remembers him waiting by the door of the classroom in order to go outside and play football as quickly as possible.

Flower power

City’s No.17 is blessed with magic in both feet. Naturally right-footed, his thunderbolt against Chelsea in the 2017/18 season is just one of many strikes that proves his left foot is equally dangerous.

De Bruyne’s been adept with both feet since he was a child, a product of ruining flowerbeds in his local neighbourhood.

With no goal, it was shrubs and bushes he used instead and after wrecking one to many with his powerful right foot, he was told to use what was then his weaker left in order to protect the flowers.

Introvert

Capable of making huge statements on the pitch, De Bruyne is a quiet and private individual away from football and, by his own admission, was an exceptionally shy child.

Indeed, his primary school teacher says his introverted nature made it difficult to form a connection with him, whilst the 29-year-old admits he struggled socially when he left home at the age of 14 to join Genk’s academy.

WATCH: Made in Belgium available to watch on CITY+ now!

Strong opinions

An introvert he may be, but De Bruyne has never had any problem speaking his own mind where football is concerned.

He was just eight-years-old when he told the manager of his local side he would moving to nearby professional outfit Gent because ‘the training was better'.

It was a recurring theme and later, whilst a young player in Genk’s first team, he used a half-time interview to confess his displeasure at the team's first half performance.

First impressions

One of the most fascinating parts of the documentary is the contrasting opinions international colleagues Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany had upon meeting De Bruyne.

No sooner have we heard Hazard explain why he knew his compatriot would be one of the best players in the world from the first time he saw him play, we discover Vincent Kompany’s first impression was markedly different.

“I thought he seemed to moan a lot," explains the former City captain, whose opinion soon softened when he saw the talent at his team-mate's disposal.

WATCH: De Bruyne: Players must be honest about fitness levels next season

Klopp target

A 2012/13 loan spell at Werder Bremen was a landmark moment in De Bruyne’s career, as he convinced both himself and others that he was destined for the top.

He returned to Chelsea at the end of the season, but had a queue of clubs willing to take him, including Borussia Dortmund, where Jurgen Klopp was particularly keen to secure his services.

Physical development

Today, De Bruyne’s all action displays in midfield paint a picture of a man who knows his responsibilities in the gym, something which has not always been the case.

Pierre Denier, the assistant manager when the Belgian played for Genk, admits strength and conditioning was not at the forefront of the player’s mind as a youngster.

That came later, during his time at Wolfsburg, which his former coach credits with taking his game to a new level.          

Sore loser

De Bruyne is a terrible loser.

From being dragged off a pitch after a particularly demoralising defeat as a child, to telling a seasoned professional he needed to run more in order to win a training game, the midfielder has a winning mentality.

A ‘perfectionist’ is how Belgium boss Roberto Martinez chooses to describe him, whilst Kompany says: “Behind his whole nice boy façade, there is a winner in there. I know a few bad losers, but he is one of the big ones.”

WATCH: Watch all of De Bruyne's 19/20 Premier League assists

Driven

De Bruyne’s fine career is as much to do with his character as it his ability.

It becomes glaringly apparent that he has always known his own mind, making decisions for the benefit of his playing career.

He left Genk for Chelsea because he knew he needed to leave Belgium in order to progress his career and four months into his first full season with the Blues he made the decision to leave because he knew he needed to be playing regularly in order to progress his career.

The best

In Pep Guardiola, De Bruyne has a manager who has worked with some of the greatest players to ever play the game and the City boss puts his playmaker in the same bracket.

"He is a masterclass player, one of the best players I have ever trained in my life," says the City boss.

"Right now, he is the best. Right now, in the midfield position, he is the best."

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