- Playmaker used to starring in the Premier League
- Life not as easy on an international stage
- Demanding character expects a lot from colleagues
WHAT HAPPENED? The 31-year-old is accustomed to puling the strings for the Premier League champions, with his club employers expecting to breeze past every opponent they face while chasing down domestic and European honours. That was once the case for Belgium, in a so-called ‘Golden Generation’, but their powers are on the wane and De Bruyne has picked up an unfortunate habit of berating team-mates for seemingly falling short of his lofty expectations.
WHAT THEY SAID: De Bruyne, who is on 2022 World Cup duty, has said of having to take a different mindset into the Belgium camp: "We can't play in the same way as Manchester City. As a national team you have to adapt to the players you have around you. Does it frustrate me sometimes? Yes, but I should show that less although that is the perfection I strive for."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: De Bruyne, who was caught on camera arguing with Toby Alderweireld during Belgium’s 1-0 win over Canada in their World Cup opener, added on his passionate approach: "I do know that my reactions are not always good. I also look for moments afterwards to find that peace but people know that it's my way to help the team play better and get more out of the game. But of course, I also have to learn to react in a better way. Every now and then the emotions spill over but that's also part of the game."
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? Belgium will be back in action against Morocco on Sunday, while City’s next game – once the global gathering in Qatar comes to a close – will be against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on December 22.