A few weeks ago, during the latest international break, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne shocked quite a few members of the Belgian media with an outburst criticising his national manager’s tactics following a disappointing 3-3 friendly draw against Mexico.
Feeling the tactics weren’t good enough, the attacking midfielder suggested publicly something needed to change, which Roberto Martinez never questioned, explaining it was the 26-year-old’s right to speak freely.
However, this wasn’t the first time the Manchester City star had been so vocal, often doing so to retaliate to false claims in the media.
Speaking to Sport/Foot, De Bruyne explained himself: “I’m someone who’s honest, who likes to say things the way they are, and, on the other hand, doesn’t like it when people talk about me behind my back. I have a habit of talking to their faces.
“If I said that after the Mexico game, it’s because I felt we needed to improve collectively. That’s the only reason. We cannot be content with a quarter final. We need to go to Russia to win the World Cup.”
With such a talented group around him, De Bruyne has every reason to feel like he and his teammates can pull off something special in Russia, and it’s this winning mentality that has helped him through his career, even if he hasn’t pleased everyone along the way.
He doesn’t really care, and it seems that goes both ways, as his agent, Patrick de Koster, revealed: “You need to go quite far and be dishonest to offend Kevin. When I met him at 16, he was very timid. Now he says what he wants to say. Some will criticise him for what he said, others will say it should have stayed in the dressing room, but I’m sure a lot of the team agreed to what he said.”
When Genk lost 7-0 to Valencia, he, at the age of 20, was the one screaming at his teammates for not caring enough in the dressing room.
While he’s outspoken when he needs to be, the Belgium international doesn’t really like the attention that comes with being a sports personality, which he quickly realised when he bought a Mercedes G63.
His agent explained: “He hated how people reacted when he went out, so he quickly replaced it with a Mercedes GLE. A coupé, much smaller. The bling-bling really isn’t his thing. Luis Vuitton, Gucci. He doesn’t care. 90% of the time, he wears a Nike tracksuit.”
As Sport/Foot rightly point out, even social media isn’t his biggest forte, at least compared to some of his teammates, shown by his “meagre” four million followers on Instagram, compared to Eden Hazard’s 11 million.
At 26, his priorities are now his family and his career, which includes ambitious goals of winning pretty much everything.
And if there’s a tidbit of information that will please Manchester City fans, it’s that, after speaking to the player and his agent, Sport/Foot say De Bruyne has no intention of leaving the north of England, where he’s comfortably set up with his wife and soon-to-be two-year-old son, Mason Milian.
After all, if he wasn’t happy, he’d let you know all about it.