De Bruyne: Two years out of Europe is just too long
Kevin De Bruyne has admitted he might have to rethink his future at Manchester City if they fail in their appeal against a two-year ban from the Champions League.
UEFA punished City for breaching financial fair play regulations pending an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
De Bruyne, 28, is regarded as City’s most important player and a vital part of club plans with three years still left on his contract.
But unless City can overturn the ban or get it reduced, the Belgian midfielder would not be able to play in the Champions League again until he is 30.
‘The club have told us they will appeal against the ban on European football and that they’re almost 100 per cent sure they are right,’ De Bruyne told Belgian paper Het Laatste Nieuws.
‘I’m just waiting. I trust my team. Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, in the case of one year I might see. It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that too. What is coming is coming.’
Though City would be petrified of losing De Bruyne due to a lack of European football, he did have better news for the club.
The Belgian, who leads the Premier League’s assists table this season and is a contender for PFA Player of the Year, says his future is not linked to that of manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola is expected to leave when his current City deal ends next year but De Bruyne does not see that as a reason to move on himself.
‘I’m not going to let my decision depend on what Pep is doing,’ he added. ‘Of course I have already worked with other trainers 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.’
De Bruyne has been linked with a move to Real Madrid but he states: ‘I’m very happy with City. I play for one of the best teams in the world, I play in England.
‘It’s not that I’ve tried to leave City in those five years. I have also remained calm for my previous transfers. I have never had any problems and have always waited for my moment. With respect, because I think that way you will get the most back, in life outside football as well.’
All parties are keen to reach a verdict between City, UEFA and CAS as quickly as possible but the coronavirus lockdown and uncertainty over when domestic and European competitions will return have complicated the timetable, though CAS could deliberate on the case via video link.
De Bruyne added that financial fears will ensure the season is played to a conclusion. He added: ‘My feeling is that we may be able to train again within two weeks. The financial aspect is far too important in the Premier League. If the season is not finished, it will cause serious problems.’Daily Mail