There are not many midfielders on the planet that make decisive contributions to football matches quite like Kevin De Bruyne can.
KDB has become Man City's heartbeat under Pep Guardiola but he doesn't only hurt opponents from a central midfield position. The Belgian's influence on the Premier League is starting to resemble that of former Liverpool skipper and icon, Steven Gerrard.
Here's why we've drawn the comparison.
🗣 KDB leads by example
De Bruyne wants to be successful at the highest level and if the performances of his teammates on any given day don't match up to his expectations, he'll be sure to let them know. City's number 17 is vocal in his leadership style and his performances get the best out of his colleagues.
🔮 A rare combination of technical brilliance & feistiness
Usually, footballers are either silky and flamboyant or gritty and determined, it's not often that all of these qualities coexist within one player. De Bruyne is a strong, aggressive, combative creative midfielder who possesses all of the finesse in the world when he requires it.
Because of the variety of skills and qualities at his disposal, De Bruyne can operate in a host of formations and systems as a deep-lying playmaker or in an attacking trio behind a striker, making him Pep Guardiola's most important player. His versatility and tactical intelligence mean that he's the brain of the side and adapts his game according to the match situation.
🔥 Scores and makes goals out of nowhere
De Bruyne's reputation as the Premier League's most creative player is one that he's earned over the years, but he's also just as destructive when it comes to busting a game open with a moment of sheer brilliance. His goal away to Newcastle this season was a perfect example of De Bruyne marrying technical prowess and power.
📈 Takes risks for the good of the team
There's not much more that can be said about De Bruyne's killer instincts when it comes to providing the final ball. Low, devilish, inch-perfect crosses have become his trademark and they're virtually impossible to defend. Through-balls, straight balls for diagonal runs, reverse passes, he's got it all.
KDB is impervious to the pressure and moans and groans of supporters when an ambitious eye-of-the-needle pass doesn't find its target. He will plug away until he succeeds and that fearlessness is priceless.
🏟 The man makes a difference when it matters
De Bruyne's nerveless penalty in the Bernabéu against Real Madrid showed why he's the man for the big occasion and it proved to be the matchwinner against the 13-time European Champions. Like Gerrard before him, who almost singlehandedly dragged his Liverpool side to FA Cup and Champions League final wins over West Ham and AC Milan respectively, De Bruyne has the capability of winning matches all on his own when the chips are down.
When all is said and done, De Bruyne's true legacy might only be measured by his performances in the Champions League, despite his continued Premier League success. The mountain that Gerrard successfully ascended in 2006 to claim Europe's elite club competition is a peak that De Bruyne is yet to ascend. If he can steer City all the way in 2020, there will be very little doubting his greatness.