‘It’s always nice to be recognized as a player,’ says Kevin De Bruyne, who becomes the first Manchester City player EVER to finish in the top three at the Ballon d’Or awards… Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane pipped Belgian to the top spot
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne became the first player at the club to place inside the top three of the men’s Ballon d’Or award, finishing behind Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane.
The Belgian solidified a ‘podium finish’ after the voting saw him see off the likes of Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe, and Robert Lewandowski at the award show in Paris.
‘There is only one player that can win the Ballon d’Or out of millions of people, so to be in that top 30 list for a long time now is something I already appreciated,’ De Bruyne said
‘I think as a player you know when you played well, when you played bad and when you played good consistently for seasons. I think the best players are their own critics.
‘The real top, top players push themselves so high, to the limit, that it is almost impossible to have bigger critics of them.
‘I have been nominated quite a few times now, so it means you have been doing well consistently. To be recognized as a player is always nice. If you are on that list, then it means a lot, and after it is the people’s opinion.’
City also collected the club of the year award after earning seven nominations – more than any other club across Europe. ‘We pride ourselves on playing beautiful football,’ said chief executive Ferran Soriano.
‘We are proud of the quality of the players and staff behind the scenes who help make us successful. I want everyone to take a step back and feel proud of all we achieved last season.’
The other City players nominated across the men’s and women’s awards were Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Erling Haaland, and Lucy Bronze.
City and Brazil goalkeeper Ederson was also shortlisted in the final three for the Yashin Trophy.
In the end, De Bruyne was pipped by Benzema who became the ninth Real Madrid player to claim the award since 2000 and just the fifth Frenchman to ever win the trophy.
On the night, the Frenchman said: ‘To see this prize in front of me makes me really proud. It was a childhood dream for me and with all the work I have done, I never gave up.
The other players included in the top ten, in descending order, were Erling Haaland, Luka Modric, Vinicius Jr, Thibaut Courtois, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, and Robert Lewandowski.