Kevin De Bruyne can win the Ballon d'Or, says Pep Guardiola


For Kevin De Bruyne, it was perhaps the ultimate compliment.

It seems like things have changed. "It's not one game, it's all the season - every three days - playing that way".

Attention turns to Europe's premier competition this week, with City travelling to face Swiss champion Basel in the last-16 - granting De Bruyne his latest chance to prove he resides among the finest players on the planet.

"I think we played brilliantly today, the boys did really well and of course Sergio Aguero was a different class today", Raheem Sterling, scorer of City's opener, told the BBC.

He is a strong favorite to become England's player of the year for 2017-18 - only Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is a genuine rival for the prize - but the Ballon d'Or is on another level.

Their next test is FC Basel in the Champions League as they chase a possible Quadruple, and Gundogan revealed Pep Guardiola's secret for success. "The way he played, it's hard to find [a better] one in Europe".

This could be City's year, too.

Champions-elect Manchester City looked strangely out of sorts during the first 45 minutes of their Premier League clash with the Foxes.

Guardiola has transformed City this season after a largely disappointing debut campaign in Manchester, where he failed to win a trophy for the first time in his managerial career. The team's previous best run was to the semifinals in 2016.

"We scored six goals last season in the last 16 and we were out because we conceded six". Considering Messi and Ronaldo's failure to win a World Cup, a victory in Russian Federation would surely make de Bruyne stand out.

Aguero hitting a purple patch that has seen him leave with the matchball in each of City's previous two Premier League home matches certainly gives his manager another reason to be optimistic in the pursuit of honours across four fronts. The Belgian worldwide is one of the Premier League's most creative players, with a few managers including Pep Guardiola calling him the best player in the English league at the moment.

De Bruyne has moved to another level since being repositioned by Guardiola this season.

There's also an FA Cup fifth round tie with League One leaders Wigan Athletic to come next week, which will be a repeat of the 2013 final when Ben Watson secured a shock win for the Latics in the dying moments.

"Since making his debut for Werder Bremen on loan from Chelsea in the summer of 2012, De Bruyne has completed a total of 77 assists - more than any player in Europe's top five leagues, including Lionel Messi on 76". They are the better side and this should be quite an easy game for them.