Kevin De Bruyne's iconic moments for Manchester City, Belgium and more

From being a bit-part player at Chelsea to thriving in the Bundesliga and becoming one of the best players in the world, Kevin De Bruyne has provided some iconic moments for both club and country.

Kevin De Bruyne has become a household name at Manchester City in the last five years, and has grown undoubtedly into one of the best, if not the best, players in the Premier League.

The slick center midfielder is renowned for his sumptuous ability to deliver chances on a plate for strikers to gobble up - something which has been prominent playing alongside a world class center forward like Sergio Aguero.

From flourishing at Genk, a failed move at Chelsea, and now verging on greatness at Manchester City, here's Planet Sport's look at what has been a trophy-laden career so far for the brilliant Belgian.

Glory at Genk

Kevin De Bruyne in his younger days at Genk
Kevin De Bruyne in his younger days at Genk

When De Bruyne arrived at the Genk academy in 2005, little did they know that he would become one of their most famous acquisitions.

He is not the only youth product of the club who has gone on to bigger and better things though, with Champions League winner Divock Origi and Napoli duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Yannick Carrasco all having resided from the Belgian club.

De Bruyne's first run-out with the first team came in May 2009, playing a part in the final two games of the league season before becoming a regular the following campaign.

He would be awarded for his efforts in 2011, as the club won its third Belgian Pro League title, the midfielder contributed with four goals and nine assists along the way.

Home comforts proved vital for his development, and despite Chelsea recognising his talent and making their move in January 2012, the Belgian would stay in Genk for the remaining months of the season.

Bremen on the brink

De Bruyne celebrates a goal for Werder Bremen in 2013
De Bruyne celebrates a goal for Werder Bremen in 2013

Most will know our brilliant Belgian as a serial winner of both personal and team accolades, nonetheless, he learnt his trade the hard way while on loan at Werder Bremen from Chelsea in 2012.

Starting in 33 of 34 league matches, De Bruyne truly made his mark in major European top flight soccer for the first time, scoring 10 and assisting nine goals throughout his loan spell.

Mainly playing in an attacking midfield role, he was part of a Bremen side who came close to slipping out of the league for the first time in 33 years as they failed to win in their last 13 league encounters.

The Belgian's contribution was key, however, scoring in the club's final win of the season, and also finding the back of the net in the last three games as they picked up two points to narrowly survive.

A learning curve to say the least… but one which did the youngster no harm.

Breaking the Bundesliga assist record

De Bruyne was a key presence at Wolfsburg, for obvious reasons
De Bruyne was a key presence at Wolfsburg, for obvious reasons

A permanent move from Chelsea to Wolfsburg was something De Bruyne was prepared for having seemingly had more playing experience in Germany than in England, although the heights he hit in his solitary season in Wolfsburg green were unprecedented.

Like so many before him, a move to Chelsea didn't go to plan but the London club would ultimately pay the price.

Wolfsburg were looking to improve on a fifth-placed finish the proceeding season which had secured Europa League football, and it was a competition De Bruyne excelled in - he played in every game up until their quarterfinal second leg against Napoli.

It seems they had much bigger fish to fry in terms of the league and they surged to second place, where they sat from matchday 10 all the way to the finish.

De Bruyne's haul of 21 assists set - at the time - a new Bundesliga season record, whilst his 16 goals across all competitions was only bettered at the club by striker Bas Dost (20).

Proving the doubters wrong

De Bruyne takes on Maya Yoshida of Southampton in a Premier League match
De Bruyne takes on Maya Yoshida of Southampton in a Premier League match

In 2015, Kevin De Bruyne's £55million ($75.5million) move to Manchester City from Wolfsburg caused raucous debate between pundits as to why so much money was being splashed on a Chelsea reject.

Fast forward to 2021 and many have been made to eat their words…

With only 132 minutes of Premier League football under his belt, Jose Mourinho had pulled the plug on his Chelsea career a year-and-a-half earlier, so De Bruyne becoming the second most expensive player in English soccer came somewhat as a surprise.

Those who were hostile towards the move included former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson and former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson - prominent figures on England's premier football results show "Soccer Saturday" on Sky Sports.

"The world is going mad. The amount of money they're paying for this boy is just absolutely bonkers! He's a good player, but is he a great player?", said Thompson.

Whereas, Merson said: "I think it was right for him to go. If you're buying someone for eight million and selling him for a £10million profit, it's a no-brainer for me."

With over a century of Premier League assists to his name for Manchester City - one of Chelsea's biggest league rivals - such a profit may certainly look minimal in comparison now.

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Centurion

De Bruyne embraces Manchester City teammate Joao Cancelo
De Bruyne embraces Manchester City teammate Joao Cancelo

Pep Guardiola's melting pot of talent at Manchester City finally came to fruition in style in the 2017/18 Premier League season, and a key ingredient was a sprinkling of Kevin De Bruyne magic.

The Spanish boss had nothing to show for his first season as Man City's potential saviour, with a third-placed finish and no cup success proving to be a far from satisfactory return in the club's modern era.

On the other hand, his work had just begun and he knew he could depend on De Bruyne who had already registered 19 assists the previous season.

Unlike Premier League campaigns that have followed, it was easy pickings for Guardiola's side on their way to the title, though their bid to become history makers went into the final minutes of the season.

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Needing a win at Southampton to reach 100 points it seemed they would fall at the final hurdle, but up stepped De Bruyne to set up a Gabriel Jesus last-minute winner to spark joyous scenes both on the touchline and in the stands.

Belgian samba against Brazil

Wild celebrations ensued after De Bruyne's goal against Brazil
Wild celebrations ensued after De Bruyne's goal against Brazil

A goal against Brazil to guide your country to a World Cup semifinal is not a moment many can boast.

Despite that, it's just one of many memorable moments in Kevin De Bruyne's international repertoire.

The standard of the Belgian national team has soared to new heights in the past decade, and the world's number one ranked side may be left reeling if they don't win any silverware with this golden generation.

De Bruyne has been paramount to such success for over decade now having first lined up for the Red Devils in 2010 in a friendly against Finland.

With over 75 Belgium appearances to his name, he isn't far off the top 10 appearance makers in the country's history. Nonetheless, the strength of the team this decade is telling as teammates Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard, Axel Witsel and Toby Alderweireld make up the nation's top four called upon players.

As De Bruyne reaches potentially the latter years of his international journey, the next two could prove make or break with the opportunity of European Championship and UEFA Nations League success in 2021, followed by the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

Under the Champions League lights

Domestic success has been plentiful since De Bruyne's move to Manchester, but success in European competition is a constant craving that eludes a club desperate to dominate on a global soccer stage.

However, De Bruyne has been a mastermind at the best of times in the competition, both in times of hurt and jubilation for his club.

Having made over 40 competition appearances with Genk, Chelsea, and Manchester City, De Bruyne's dazzling display against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2019 quarterfinals will go into the history books for the wrong reasons.

A hat trick of assists fired Man City to a 4-3 win, but this was a goal short of the two-goal cushion they needed to advance - a blow which was worsened after being disallowed what appeared to be a last-minute decider as VAR (Video Assistant Referee) intervened.

In 2020, De Bruyne's contribution was worthy of one of the club's most famous wins; a goal and assist from the captain on the night helped Pep Guardiola's side to a 2-1 win at Spanish giants Real Madrid.

PFA Player of the Year

The brilliant Belgian's first taste of individual success when it came to the Premier League's most lucrative individual honor may have come with a bittersweet taste.

Previously, as Man City won the Premier League title, he had been beaten to the accolade by a Liverpool pairing of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, but the award - voted for by fellow players - would head to Manchester in 2020.

It was indeed deserved as De Bruyne equalled Thierry Henry's 17-year-old record of 20 Premier League assists.

Perhaps more impressive was the added bonus of 13 goals scored which meant De Bruyne was involved in more goals than any other player in England's top flight last season.

Ultimately the fall of the team may have overshadowed such a great campaign on a personal note for De Bruyne, as City sacrificed their title by finishing 18 points behind Liverpool.

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