MANCHESTER — Kevin De Bruyne says he doesn’t want personal honours unless he’s winning trophies with Manchester City.
The Belgium international midfielder is already being talked about as an early frontrunner for the Player of the Year award after starting the season in sparkling form for City.
Pep Guardiola said he needs to win a title to be considered among the best and De Bruyne, who was named German Player of the Year when he was with Wolfsburg in 2015, told ESPN FC he is more interested in team trophies.
“It’s nice to have it but I prefer it after we have a title,” De Bruyne told ESPN FC as Manchester City announced details for their very first SkillCity national final being held in Pomona, California on Saturday, Dec. 9.
“When I got it in Germany, it was a great honour but I wasn’t happy that before we won the cup in Germany, we were second in Germany at the time.
“After that if you win it, it’s a great recognition it means that it will be forever there and that you did well.”
De Bruyne has enhanced his reputation as possibly the best provider in the game this season with an array of assists that have helped City to the top of the table.
He created the most assists in the Premier League last season with 18 and is only one behind teammate David Silva in this season’s charts with five.
But the 26-year-old is quick to give the credit to his fellow City players and insists their movement makes it easy for him to create chances.
“I’m just growing on what I’ve done the last years,” he added. “I was playing constantly at a good level but I think the team is now playing at a very high level.
“For me, it’s not easy, but it’s easier to go in the way that they are going. For me it makes it easier to find people when they are playing in the way they are playing. The way it looks at the moment is very positive.”
De Bruyne also created Gabriel Jesus’s winner on Tuesday night in the 2-1 win over Serie A leaders Napoli that maintained City’s perfect start in the Champions League with three wins out of three.
Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri said City should be seen as one of the favourites for the trophy after the result and De Bruyne believes City should consider themselves one of the better sides in the competition.
“Are we the best? It’s difficult to say. For the moment we have good form, probably we are up there,” De Bruyne added.
“But it’s so difficult to compare with other teams from other leagues. It’s not for me to do that discussion.”
De Bruyne also has a big summer coming up with Belgium, who are one of eight teams seeded for the 2018 World Cup.
And he says his country shouldn’t go to Russia if they don’t believe they have the capability of winning the competition.
“I think if you go to a World Cup you need to try and win it,” he said. “Obviously I don’t think we’re favourites, probably one of the outsiders.
“It depends on everything — you need good play, the atmosphere needs to be good in the group, you need a little bit of luck, you need to be together to win a tournament and hopefully in that time we have it.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.