Eden Hazard has hailed Belgium team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as the best player in the Premier League.
According to the Mirror‘s Alex Richards, he said: “Kevin is definitely the best player in the Premier League at the moment. [Manchester] City are the best Premier League team, and Kevin is an important player in Guardiola’s system. It’s easy to play with Kevin because we’re good players.”
While it’s hardly surprising Hazard has named his compatriot as the league’s best, particularly while with the national team for the international break, it’s hard to disagree given the sensational form De Bruyne has displayed.
The playmaker has provided nine assists for his team-mates already this term, as well as finding the net himself three times, taking his overall tallies to 46 assists and 26 goals in 106 appearances for City.
As The Independent’s Miguel Delaney noted, De Bruyne’s passing is brilliant even compared to legends of the game:
Even Xavi, Pirlo and Scholes were so much more sparing about it.
It’s a common sight to see the 26-year-old thread the needle with a defence-splitting pass, so it’s not difficult to see why he racks up so many assists as a result.
Per Squawka, he’s been the most creative player at City with a combined total of 40 chances created in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, putting him ahead of David Silva on 36.
What’s more, his superlative numbers don’t even reflect his full contribution to the Sky Blues’ attacking moves, per Goal’s Sam Lee:
De Bruyne’s passes have unlocked Palace for those 2 goals. Sane and Aguero will get the assists (and good assists too) but KDB the architect
A less discussed facet of his game is his work rate, but he does his share of defensive work to help out the team, too.
WhoScored.com shared his stats from City’s 3-1 win over Arsenal, and De Bruyne recovered possession eight times for his side:
@BetVictor Kevin De Bruyne: Man of the Match vs Arsenal – Rating 9.61, Goals 1, Shots(OT) 2, Key Passes 2, Tackles 5, Interceptions 3 https://t.co/iiYoHBiae0
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has gone a step further than Hazard with his praise of the midfielder:
Kevin De Bruyne is on the right track. 🔥 https://t.co/OiB6rr2dIt
As with Hazard, such comments are to be expected, but while De Bruyne isn’t anything like the goalscorer they are—his best tally for a season is 17—with each week that passes he inches closer to their pedestal.
It may only be November, but De Bruyne already appears to be a shoo-in to win PFA Player of the Year, and his City side are eight points clear at the top of the table, so his form looks likely to be rewarded with major silverware and individual honours this season.