Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City players “don’t get the recognition they deserve” when it comes to prestigious individual awards, with Kevin De Bruyne’s lack of personal prizes leaving the Portuguese forward baffled.
The Belgium international playmaker has been a leading contender for PFA Player of the Year gongs in the past. That honour has, however, always headed elsewhere since De Bruyne returned to English football at the Etihad Stadium in 2015.
Leicester’s remarkable title triumph in 2016 saw Riyad Mahrez’s efforts recognised by his peers, with N’Golo Kante going on to take first place a year later after moving to Chelsea and helping them to the Premier League crown.
De Bruyne then starred for title winners City in 2017-18 – as they reached 100 points – but he was edged out in the PFA vote by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
A domestic treble was not enough to see him past Virgil van Dijk in 2019 – with injury issues working against him that season – and Silva has questioned whey a period of stunning success for Pep Guardiola’s side as a collective has not been mirrored on a personal level.
He told The Telegraph: “Kevin de Bruyne should have won the [award] two years ago - he was clearly the best player in the league that season. It is a fair process, but I can't understand why City players don't get the recognition they deserve.”
City are now sweating on whether the likes of De Bruyne will stick around if a two-year ban from European competition is upheld. They have appealed that ruling, with Silva admitting that future uncertainty at the Etihad is helping to narrow the focus when it comes to a European quest in the present.
He added: “Of course, what happens with UEFA is an important matter. No one knows what is going to happen, so we must only think about what we can control now. What we can control is to play the competition in the best possible way. We must put all of our energy into trying to win the Champions League.
“I think all of the players are with the club and support what they are saying. We will try to do our best this year and not worry about anything else.”
Silva has added incentive when it comes to capturing a continental crown this season, with the final stages of the 2019-20 Champions League campaign set to be played out in his homeland.
“For me personally, it is an extra motivation to try to do well in the Champions League,” said Silva. “It is a special competition and it is going to be a unique event in my home city.
“To fight for the title in my city [Lisbon] would mean a lot because I missed out on the Euros four years ago when Portugal won the trophy and I was hoping to play in this summer’s tournament before the pandemic.
“We know we are no longer fighting for the Premier League – that is impossible. Of course, we want to defend the FA Cup, but we all know what the Champions League means.
“This club has never won it, I’ve never won it and most of the players haven’t won it. Our goal is to really go for it because it’s a big opportunity to win the biggest competition.”