He sees things we’ll never see - De Bruyne’s greatest Man City assists

Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Getty Images

There was something fitting that Manchester City's 2022 title-winning goal would be created by Kevin De Bruyne.

In seven seasons in the Premier League, the brilliant Belgian has established himself as the king of the assists and potentially the competition's greatest creator of all time.

He is firmly established in the top 10 Premier League assist-makers of all time, and in the 2019-20 campaign equalled the record of Arsenal's Thierry Henry by creating 20 goals in a single season.

De Bruyne has 121 total assists for City, and GOAL has watched each and every one of them to discover which were the greatest 10...

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2016-17Getty Images

    10Steaua Bucharest 5-0 (Nolito), August 16, 2016

    Early in Pep Guardiola's reign, the movement and fluidity of City's attacking was just starting to take shape when they travelled to Romania.

    The Champions League qualifier was crucial, but a potential disaster was averted with a ruthless display that has since become so familiar.

    The pick of the goals was the third scored by the long-forgotten Nolito, expertly created by De Bruyne.

    A slight miscontrol saw De Bruyne cut inside from the edge of the box before flicking a perfect pass between three defenders with precision timing to beat the offside trap and leave Nolito with just the goalkeeper to beat.

    Aesthetics (rating out of 10): 6

    Difficulty: 7

    Importance: 4

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2021-22Getty Images

    9Club Brugge 5-1 (Walker), October 19, 2021

    De Bruyne returned to Belgium to play a club game for the first time in nine years in 2021, and wanted to make the most of the experience.

    “I’m excited to go back home, it’s the first time except for the national team since I left," he said, although an ankle injury had dogged his early season.

    But after fluffing a couple of decent opportunities in front of goal in the first half, he went back to what he does best by providing a beautiful assist.

    Exchanging passes with Riyad Mahrez, he drew two Brugge defenders towards him before slipping the ball in between the pair for the overlapping Kyle Walker to score.

    Aesthetics: 8

    Difficulty: 7

    Importance: 3

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2017-18Getty Images

    8Liverpool 5-0 (Aguero), September 9, 2017

    City began to think their 'Centurions' season might be something special as early as September when they thrashed rivals Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

    The opening goal was one of simplicity and elegance, created by De Bruyne and finished by Sergio Aguero.

    Picking up a loose ball on the edge of the centre circle, De Bruyne quickly slid a ball through the heart of Liverpool's defence with a perfect weight that made it easy for Aguero to take the ball around Simon Mignolet.

    Sadio Mane received a red card later before City ran amok, but the scene was set by the brilliantly-crafted opening goal.

    Aesthetics: 7

    Difficulty: 5

    Importance: 7

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2016-17Getty Images

    7Arsenal 2-1 (Sterling), December 18, 2016

    Those who claim that De Bruyne has eyes in the back of his head will point to his brilliant assist against Arsenal that clinched a crucial three points just before Christmas 2016 as proof.

    From a throw-in in their own half, De Bruyne stepped off the halfway line before drilling a 60-yard pass blindly from virtually one touchline to the other while clearing Nacho Monreal's head.

    Sterling still had a lot to do before he slammed the ball past Petr Cech, helped by De Bruyne sprinting over in support to distract the Gunners defence.

    But the vision and execution of the pass created the opportunity out of nothing and helped turn around a game that City had been losing.

    Aesthetics: 6

    Difficulty: 7

    Importance: 7

  • Kevin De Bruyne Raheem Sterling Manchester City 2017-18Getty Images

    6Leicester City 5-1 (Sterling), February 10, 2018

    De Bruyne actually produced a hat-trick of brilliant assists in this game, but was overshadowed by Aguero scoring four times in the same game.

    In a sublime trio, probably the pick of De Bruyne's passes was the one finished by Sterling that gave City a third-minute lead.

    It was the sort of cross that City fans will be more than familiar with, but what made it so special was that its perfection made it impossible for Sterling to miss.

    De Bruyne was positioned on the corner of the box when he received a pullback from Bernardo Silva that he whipped between five stranded Leicester defenders and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel for Sterling to score from a yard out.

    Aesthetics: 8

    Difficulty: 8

    Importance: 5

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2016-17Getty Images

    5Arsenal 2-2 (Sane), April 2, 2017

    In Pep Guardiola's first season, City's title challenge was over by the time they travelled to the Emirates Stadium, where a defeat could have brought the Gunners back into the race for the top four.

    But inside five minutes, City were ahead thanks to the quick-thinking and quality of De Bruyne.

    A Shkodran Mustafi defensive header bounced to the midfielder, who adjusted his body perfectly to place a precision pass into the space the Arsenal defender had vacated.

    Leroy Sane still had a lot of work to do to score, but the precision and alertness of the pass created the opportunity out of nothing.

    Aesthetics: 7

    Difficulty: 8

    Importance: 7

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2017-18Getty Images

    4Everton 1-3 (Jesus), March 31, 2018

    A brilliantly-worked team move at Goodison Park ended with De Bruyne adding the final pass to ensure it would finish with a goal.

    The move started with a goal-kick clearance from Ederson, and when the ball landed at Leroy Sane's feet it was the cue for De Bruyne to sprint past him.

    Creating space cleverly, Sane delivered a perfect ball to De Bruyne, who in turn looped a first-time cross for Gabriel Jesus to power in a header from close range.

    "It's two years thinking and talking and training that way," Guardiola said about the movement that led to the goal.

    Aesthetics: 8

    Difficulty: 9

    Importance: 6

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2017-18Getty Images

    3Stoke City 7-2 (Sane), October 14, 2017

    The sixth goal of a 7-2 thrashing is the only reason one of De Bruyne's most memorable assists is not higher on the list.

    Standing in the right-back position, the Belgian was quick to latch onto a loose ball and as he strode forward, there weren't really any goalscoring opportunities available.

    But after he arced a perfect 40-yard pass along the ground in between three Stoke defenders, the ball was left far enough away from the goalkeeper that Sane had a glorious opportunity that he was able to smash into the net.

    "It's one of my favourite passes because the difficulty of that pass is very big," De Bruyne told Sky Sports when assessing the delivery.

    Aesthetics: 10

    Difficultly: 10

    Importance: 4

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2021-22Getty Images

    2Aston Villa 3-2 (Gundogan), May 22, 2022

    City were in danger of throwing the Premier League title away on the final day of the season when De Bruyne made his mark.

    Guardiola's side had already pulled back two goals to level the scores at 2-2 and the momentum was with them, but they still needed a winner to secure the victory that would sink Liverpool's challenge.

    Enter De Bruyne, who was the most alert to a poor touch from Tyrone Mings before driving into the box and timing his cross perfectly for Ilkay Gundogan to tap in at the far post and send the stadium into wild celebrations.

    "I don’t think Aston Villa knew what was coming and we were just attacking and attacking," he said of City's three goals in five minutes. “We went and we showed that we can score and it makes it even better now.”

    Aesthetics: 7

    Difficultly: 8

    Importance: 10

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2017-18Getty Images

    1Southampton 1-0 (Jesus), May 13, 2018

    City needed to win at St Mary’s on the final day of the 2017-18 season to become the first Premier League team to reach 100 points, but with the game ticking into injury time, the game remained goalless.

    It was then that De Bruyne dropped dip between his centre-backs and launched a 60-yard pass, quarterback style, behind the Saints defence and perfectly into the path of Jesus.

    The Brazilian kept his composure to lift the ball over Alex McCarthy in front of the travelling fans, sparking wild celebrations that the players joined in with.

    “It was all or nothing," he said. "When I played the ball, I knew it was behind [the Southampton defence]. He controlled well and finished it the way he did. It was beautiful."

    Aesthetics: 9

    Difficultly: 8

    Importance: 9