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'It feels like a fake competition' - De Bruyne blasts Euro 2020 over draw format

17:29 EAT 20/11/2019
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium 2019
Belgium qualified in style, but the Man City star is unhappy that his side already know they will face Russia and Denmark

Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne labelled Euro 2020 a "fake competition" and claimed the draw format is a sign of football becoming more of a business than a sport.

Roberto Martinez's side won all 10 qualifiers to finish top of Group I and qualify automatically for next year's finals, which will be staged in 12 different cities across Europe.

The group draw will take place on November 30 but, due to seedings and rules involving host nations, Belgium already know they will be drawn into Group B with Russia and Denmark.

Belgium can start planning for the expansive tournament, but Manchester City star De Bruyne is unhappy with the format.

"It's a shame," he told VTM Nieuws after scoring twice in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Cyprus.

"For me, this feels like a fake competition. Football has become more and more [like] a business."

De Bruyne featured in six of Belgium's qualifiers, scoring four times and assisting a further six goals.

Belgium will be hoping to go one further at Euro 2020 than they managed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when they were beaten 1-0 at the semi-final stage by eventual winners France.

Many see this tournament as the best chance for the current Belgian ‘golden generation’ to lift a title with the likes of De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku in their prime years.

But with the Red Devils’ international commitments wrapped up for 2019, he will now be resetting his focus back onto club matters as Manchester City’s season enters a crucial phase.

Eight points off the top with almost a third of the season played, City are facing a number of crunch clashes heading into the busy festive period, and a January transfer window which could be crucial to the outcome of their season.

They face Chelsea at home on Saturday, with games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester all still to come before the turn of the year.

Some at the club may have been concerned by the growing noise surrounding Pep Guardiola’s future, with the Catalan linked with a return to Bayern Munich .

However, Guardiola’s agent has played down such fears , with Mauricio Pochettino now backed by many as the favourite for the Bayern job.