The Manchester City fans were celebrating yet another victory last night after they scored a late winner to see off Dutch-champions Feyernoord at the Etihad.
City’s incredible run of wins looked to be coming to an end last night as the clock ticked towards the end of the 90 minutes, but Raheem Sterling provided a moment of brilliance to snatch a 1-0 victory – their 17th on the bounce in all competitions. Pep Guardiola’s side demonstrated another dimension to their game last night as they proved they are capable of digging out a result even when they are far from their imperious best.
Despite pre-match talk of Guardiola fielding a significantly weakened line-up for their clash with Feyenoord, City were almost at full-strength.
Kevin De Bruyne retained his place in the side from the weekend victory over Leicester on a day when The Daily Star linked him with a move to Real Madrid.
It comes as little surprise that De Bruyne has been linked with a club of Madrid’s magnitude, considering the consistency and quality of the Belgian’s form at City since his arrival from Wolfsburg in 2015.
If Guardiola can convince the Belgian to snub the advances from Madrid and sign an improved contract extension at the club in the coming months, then City will, in turn, be transmitting a significant message to the rest of Europe.
On paper, Real Madrid are currently the most desirable club to play for in Europe after winning 3 Champions League trophies in the past 4 seasons, however, a situation which sees De Bruyne refuse to switch Manchester for the Spanish capital would indicate the winds of change that are occurring in European football.
Los Blancos have managed to steal both David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in years gone by, as well as Xabi Alonso from Liverpool, so City being able to stave off any interest would suggest they’re now the place to be in world football.
Alex Ferguson couldn’t keep Ronaldo from departing Old Trafford even at their height of the Red Devils’ powers, so keeping Real away really is no easy task.
Not only would De Bruyne’s decision prove that City are now the most desirable club to play for in Europe, but it would also suggest that the Premier League is ready to exert a measure of supremacy over La Liga following half a decade of Spanish dominance in Europe.