De Bruyne was named man of the match after his sublime 67th-minute strike gave City a 1-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola's league leaders are six points better off than Chelsea, who were undone by a player who made a mere three top-flight appearances for them before being jettisoned to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga during Jose Mourinho's second spell as manager.
"I don't know, honestly, what happened in the past," a rueful Conte told reporters.
"But for sure we are talking about a top player. He's a really good player, a complete player. He's good technically, fast."
What an amazing team. Big win. pic.twitter.com/x5Rl7xACkc— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) September 30, 2017
The Belgium international has operated in a slightly deeper role under Guardiola than previous boss Manuel Pellegrini and, while not as prolific in goalscoring terms as during his debut season at the Etihad Stadium in 2015-16, De Bruyne's manager praised his selflessness and fleshed out Conte's complimentary assessment.
"He can do absolutely everything," Guardiola said. "With the ball, he's a guy who can play different positions, go to the channels, assist long or short.
"After, without the ball he's the most humble, the most shy guy. He says if I have to run 100 kilometres for the team, I will do that. It's not easy to find that with this kind of talented player.
"That’s why he's one of our captains. I think he makes [City take] a step forward and people feel comfortable having him on the pitch."