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ALL A BLUR: De Bruyne has little recollection of Champions League final

Kevin De Bruyne has revealed he has little recollection of the Champions League final.

The Manchester City playmaker suffered a serious facial injury in the second half of his side’s defeat to Chelsea in last season’s showpiece in Porto following a collision with Antonio Rudiger.

“I don’t remember a lot after the incident so there’s not a lot of memories,” said De Bruyne at a press conference to preview Tuesday’s Group A clash against Club Brugge in his native Belgium.

“I remember some chances in the first half and the goal but after the collision, I don’t remember a lot. I don’t remember how I got into the hospital on the night itself.

“I remember going back in the morning to the team hotel at 10am still with my City kit on, that’s what I remember.

“But it’s sport, it happens. It’s not the best thing that ever happened but you go on with it.”

The injury also meant De Bruyne missed Belgium’s opening match at Euro 2020, a tournament which he then ended with ankle ligament damage. That issue in turn prevented him starting any of City’s first five Premier League matches of the new campaign.

The 30-year-old said: “There’s nothing I could do, I got tackled and my ligaments snapped. I just had to try to get back in the best way as possible. It was a little bit painful but I feel much better now and I’m very happy about that.”

De Bruyne returned to Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up prior to the international break, featuring in all three games of the club’s blockbusting triple-header against Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Liverpool.

He scored in the latter and followed up with another goal as the champions beat Burnley 2-0 on Saturday.

De Bruyne said: “I would say in the last six months it’s been up and down, playing and not really training. Now I feel myself getting stronger and I know the coaches are saying the same so it’s going well.”

The build-up to the Burnley game was dominated by comments from De Bruyne’s City team-mate Raheem Sterling about a lack of game time.

England forward Sterling said he would be “open” to a move if it meant more minutes on the field.

De Bruyne can understand the frustration.

He said: “Rotation is important because playing four competitions, and mostly going far in them, it’s a tough ask sometimes.

“But I understand the frustration because I’m a player and you have some players who need more rhythm to get into it. Maybe Raz is someone who needs more. I’m a player that needs that also.

“Obviously it’s the manager who has to make choices and it’s very hard. We have a group of 22, 23 internationals who are unbelievable.

“Whenever the team plays good there’s not a lot you can say as a player. It can be frustrating but I think we try to help each other.”

City go into the first of back-to-back games against Brugge third in the group – behind Paris St Germain and the Belgian champions – after losing in the French capital last time out.

Defender John Stones has withdrawn for personal reasons, but Brazil pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus could feature having flown straight to Belgium following international duty in South America last week.

Manager Guardiola said of Brugge: “What we have seen is their physicality. They have a lot of quality up front.

“We have four games left and 12 points to fight for to qualify for the last 16.

“This is the target and our mentality will be the same. We want to make them adjust and control the game with how we play.”


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