Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Kevin De Bruyne must be considered a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or if he can help deliver silverware to the club.
De Bruyne has caught the eye of fans across the Premier League this season and continued his fine form over the weekend with a hat-trick of assists against Leicester City.
And former Barcelona boss Guardiola says De Bruyne deserves to be placed alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“No doubt,” he responded when asked if he could see the Belgium international claiming the award later in the year.
“He is not one game. It’s the whole season, every three days, playing that way every three games.
“He knows, and everyone knows, to be there you have to win titles and titles and titles. The way he played, it’s difficult to find [a better] one in Europe.”
While De Bruyne himself said it would be “beautiful” to win the award, he said he was fully focused on claiming team success.
“I do everything to win titles with the team. What happens after is an extra,” he told reporters.
“I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way.
“It makes it easier for me, it makes it easier for them. At the end, if you get an individual honour it is beautiful.
“To be fair, when I am busy playing football I don’t care. I am doing what I have to do. It is something you reflect on after you get something like that. I am not busy with that before.”