Kevin De Bruyne has admitted he will consider his future if Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competition stands, but suggested he could stay at the Etihad Stadium even if he faced a year out of the Champions League.
City were hit with the ban for “serious breaches” of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations but have appealed against the punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
There has been much speculation over the future of key players such as De Bruyne if the ban stands, but the Belgium international said he trusted the club as they insist they have done nothing wrong and can get the ban overturned.
“I’m just waiting,” De Bruyne said in an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “The club told us they are going to appeal and they are almost 100 hundred per cent sure they are right. That’s why I’m waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team.
“Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see.”
Remove a European ban from the equation, and De Bruyne said he had no reason to want to leave Manchester, even if the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona came knocking.
“I play for one of the best teams in the world, play in England – for my competitive view the best competition – and I like that,” the 28-year-old said.
“It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that too.”
De Bruyne has three years remaining on his current City contract but manager Pep Guardiola will be entering the final year of his own deal next season.
But De Bruyne said his future did not depend on the Catalan’s.
“I think Pep said he will take his year anyway no matter what. Then his contract ends,” he said. “But I’m not going to let my decision depend on what Pep is doing.
“Of course I have already worked with other trainers and when Pep leaves, I have to continue working with someone else. But I haven’t really paid much attention to that for the time being. There are more important things at the moment.”
The Premier League has been suspended for six weeks due to the coronavirus, but De Bruyne said he was sure the season would be finished.
“My feeling is that we may be able to train again within two weeks,” he said. “The government wants to restart football as soon as possible to give people something. Everything will be finished without fans I think. That is not really interesting for anyone, but this season will be finished.
“The financial aspect is far too important in the Premier League. If the season is not finished, it will cause serious problems.”
Asked about comments from his City team-mate Sergio Aguero, who said some players were scared to return due to the threat of the virus, De Bruyne said: “I don’t think people are really afraid for themselves, but for their family. That is mainly the problem for many people.”