In a wide-ranging interview with Joleon Lescott for Manchester City's official club website, Kevin de Bruyne has opened up on the thinking behind signing his new contract during the most crucial stage of the season, as well as what the future holds for the Belgian in Sky Blue.
The 29 year-old put pen to paper on a two-year extension to his current deal at Manchester City this week, taking him through to 2025 and potentially allowing him to become the latest of a string of iconic players to register 10 years of service at the Etihad.
Speaking exclusively to Joleon Lescott for the official Manchester City podcast, Kevin de Bruyne firstly opened up on the thinking behind signing his new deal during the most crucial phase of the season.
"I think it was better to do it now, as soon as possible. I didn't want to keep it hanging, and I don't think the club wanted that either, with everything that is at stake", he said. "There's no distractions now for both of us, not there was for me anyway. It helps. Everything is settled on my part now, so it's easy."
With there now being a high chance of De Bruyne achieving a decade in the Sky Blue of Manchester City, the obvious question was what the future could possibly hold, even after his time on the field - maybe even a testimonial for the Belgian.
"I didn’t know the rules about a testimonial but to get an extension at my age shows the confidence the team has in me. I have been here for six years and we have been pushing so many limits with the club and the progress has been unbelievable."
He continued, "The team has basically changed – everybody has gone and new players came in so it’s really nice for them to have the confidence to keep me for another four years. If that takes me to ten, that’s pretty special, I think."
De Bruyne has overseen some major changes since joining the club in 2015, including playing personnel as well as the arrival of Pep Guardiola and the departure of the manager who signed him - Manuel Pellegrini.
When discussing what has changed, De Bruyne admitted that the vision has always remained the same, but from a personal point of view, the aim is always to keep winning trophies.
"I think the vision from the club and the owners has not really changed. Obviously the playing staff changed a little bit when Pep [Guardiola] came in. But I think the way the team does their business is a really positive one."
"They're looking to make the team grow and it's not about the individual - this team helps me get better in a lot of ways, and I try to get them better."
"So for me, the most important thing is to play for every title. I can't put cups aside, I try to get the best out of everything, and we've done incredibly well. So let's hope we do the next four years the same."
Manchester City fans will be buoyed by the personal ambitions of Kevin de Bruyne, none more so than his intention to keep the club progressing, at all levels - an admirable trait for a player who many believe could succeed Fernandinho as club captain from next season.
The Belgian is already part of a five-man leadership group within Pep Guardiola's first-team, and has captained the side on multiple occasions so far this season. This leadership ability has certainly shone through during the interview.
"I want the team to progress", De Bruyne said. "Even the youth I want to help them, the women’s team – it’s important for this club to promote everything. I am in a position to help everybody at this club, and this is my part to play now."
"Since I was made one of the captains, I have progressed in that [leadership] part. I do fairly well. In certain areas, I can still do better. That’s why I am here, to help this team and the whole club get better, and that will help me in the end. To take a leadership role will help me evolve as a human being and in other aspects of life."
You can listen to the full podcast HERE.
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