Belgium boss Roberto Martínez is hoping for an unlikely double this year by winning the World Cup with Belgium. The first half of that dream double for the Spanish coach was a game Manchester City fans remember for the wrong reasons, when Martínez’s Wigan shocked the world by beating City in the 2013 FA Cup final.
Two City stars could be key to Martínez’s hopes of Belgium going far in this year’s World Cup in Russia. One of course is Vincent Kompany, who will hope to overcome yet more injury problems for one last World Cup. The other is the magnificent Kevin De Bruyne, who we have run out of superlatives for of late here at City Watch.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Martínez has given the highest possible praise to De Bruyne, suggesting he is the best midfielder in Europe at this point in time.
“Kevin De Bruyne is just such a thinker,” Martínez said. “You get footballers that have got really good execution of what they do, and others that are very good thinkers — he has got both.
“If you analyse his performances, you will find it very, very difficult to find a better midfielder in European football. He has a really good chemistry with Pep Guardiola. I think they have a very good understanding.
“When you look at Man City’s fixtures, the first thing that comes into my mind is, ‘Kevin will be influential in that’ — and that’s an elite category.”
De Bruyne has two goals and four assists in nine appearances for City this season, often while playing in a deeper role than he did in the past. Both Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte have lauded him in the past week, and now his international coach has added to the praise for the increasingly complete midfielder.
But is he the best midfielder in Europe today? His performances of late certainly give him a case for that title.