Man City titles can help De Bruyne win Ballon d'Or, says Guardiola

Man City titles can help De Bruyne win Ballon d'Or, says Guardiola

"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. Pep Guardiola managed Lionel Messi when the Argentine first won the Ballon d'Or.

"He is not (just doing it in) one game", he said.

Manchester City has moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League table courtesy of a 5-1 victory over Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

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. Considering Messi and Ronaldo's failure to win a World Cup, a victory in Russian Federation would surely make de Bruyne stand out.

Ahead of the resumption of City's Champions League campaign this week, Guardiola reckons De Bruyne needs to be successful in Europe's top competition to be a contender.

"No doubt", said Guardiola.

Guardiola believes the win was "one of the best" performances his players have produced since he took over at City but urged them not to let their intensity drop.

City face Basel in the last-16 of the competition, and also have the final of the Carabao Cup to come against a rocking Arsenal side, who are facing another year out of the Europe's premier competition.

Kane towered above the Arsenal defence to head home his 32nd goal of the season four minutes into the second half, as only some wayward finishing and stunning goalkeeping from Petr Cech saved the visitors from further embarrassment in front of a Premier League record crowd of 83,222 at Wembley. In one sense, it was a formality, an automatic reward for his 12th Manchester City hat-trick and the third time he scored at least four. The team's previous best run was to the semifinals in 2016.

"Sometimes things come off", De Bruyne said modestly.

The man himself was typically relaxed about the prospect of being recognised as the greatest player on the planet. They illustrate his versatility and Guardiola highlighted it by reeling off the positions De Bruyne can play: winger, attacking midfielder, holding midfielder. The Belgian is playing in a deeper central-midfield role, where he can influence games more with his passing, energy and reading of the game.

City has only progressed beyond the last 16 once in six previous UEFA Champions League campaigns - De Bruyne's excellent victor securing a semi-final spot at Paris Saint-Germain's expense in 2016 - and memories of last season's thrilling away goals exit at the hands of Monaco remain fresh for Guardiola.

City will face an almighty task to win the greatest club competition in the world though, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich looking as strong as ever, while you can not ever discount Real Madrid.

The influential midfielder said: "To be fair, when I am busy playing football I don't care (about that)".

"It is not easy because they had five guys at the back, four in front - there are nearly no spaces".

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