From a muddy field in Drongen to a historic Champions League final. Kevin De Bruyne’s career reads like a fairytale. 6 crown witnesses share their favorite anecdotes and memories of the most important day of the Red Devil’s career. The constant: a red white head with golden feet.
Rudy Schelstraete (1st trainer at KVE Drongen): “Didn’t want to leave friends”
“At the age of 6 Kevin was already a real winner. And a good football player. But the other players still had to learn everything – that’s why we also lost some games, despite Kevin.”
“At one point we were losing a game. Kevin – then a real white-headed – was so taken aback that he left the field red-faced. His dad, then our team manager, found him crying in the dressing room. Only when he stated that Kevin was abandoning his friends, he returned to the field. “
One day Kevin came to me: “Hey, those training sessions at AA Gent are much better.”
“During the winter we also played games in the hall. We also invited the big teams especially for Kevin: Club Brugge, AA Gent … Of course, they all noted him down in their booklet.”
“Eventually Kevin was allowed to train at AA Gent – his dad thought a definitive switch was still too early. And moreover, Kevin did not want to leave his friends behind. He also had a very strong opinion at the time. One day he came to me:” Say , those trainings at AA Gent are much better though. (laughs) “
“After three years, Kevin left for Ghent for good. But when we played a tournament, Kevin sometimes participated with KVE Drongen. Then he was our welcome reinforcement.”
“That I was the coach who might have trained a Champions League winner? I only have a very small part in that, you know. Kevin’s will and character made the difference. He had to give up a lot. young age to foster care, not going to parties … Kevin has always worked hard. Hopefully the ultimate reward will follow tonight. “
Easy to recognize: “white-headed” Kevin. With Rudy Schelstraete on the left and daddy Herwig De Bruyne on the right.
Frank De Leyn (youth coach at AA Gent): “With 3 pulls to get him away from the goal post”
“I had Kevin as a player at AA Gent for 2 years: we have not lost a single game. Especially the cup final against Racing Genk with the preminiemen will stay with me forever.”
“We arrived in Mouscron and suddenly Kevin says to me:” I have a bit of trouble. My dad said that I have to walk two laps first to see if it will work. “”
“Before the match I spoke to him:” Kevin, you are going to have to start on the bench. You’re a bit injured, so I’m going to save you something. “His head turned red as a tomato. I already told the team representative at the time that we would definitely win.”
“After 2 minutes – it was still 0-0 at the time – I told Kevin that he could get ready. Then he flew onto the field and scored 6 times. We won 9-2.”
Watch the great images of that conscious final with Kevin De Bruyne’s first interview below
Kevin was angry and held on to a goal post. We were there with 3, but could not get him away.
“We also went on an internship to Spain during the Easter holidays. After the training we had to walk back to the hotel. The trainers did ask to clean up all the equipment first. But Kevin was angry and said:” I will not do that. . “”
“He then clung to a goal post. We were there with 3 trainers, but could not get him. Everyone just left for the hotel, while I sat next to him.” Kevin, don’t you go to the hotel? It is getting dark and otherwise you have to go to bed without food. “Little by little I was able to convince him. That’s how he became and remained my” mate “.”
Kevin De Bruyne – of course with ball – in his AA Gent training.
Domenico Olivieri (U23 coach Racing Genk): “Swearing on the mountain bike”
“With the promises of Genk we once went on an internship to Spa. We then planned an alternative training with the mountain bike. Everyone was happy, but Kevin soon made it clear that he would rather have a ball.”
“We left in groups – each coach with 5 players, every 3 minutes. At one point, the group of head coach Hans Visser, including Kevin, joined mine. He was already cursing:” Goddamn, that bicycles…””
“And then we came to a long piece of false flat. It almost never ended. Then Kevin – his head already bright red – couldn’t hold back.” This has nothing to do with football, man ?! “(laughs) I can still see his face in front of me. “
I can still see his bright red head in front of me. “This has nothing to do with football, man ?!”
“Anger could make Kevin do exceptional things on the field. In one game, it was the period when his first host family sent him away, he started on the bench. Kevin came on the field after half time and scored 5 more goals.”
“It was always clear that Kevin stood out above the rest. In terms of the game, his way of acting … In the youth that was sometimes an annoyance for him. He often gave brilliant passes that his fellow players did not respond to. Just because Kevin saw things that others didn’t. He was much further than the rest. “
David Hubert (team mate Racing Genk): “On holiday with 4 T-shirts”
“At Racing Genk we had a great group. After the season we even went on holiday together. I went to Crete with Jelle Vossen, Dimitri Daeselaere and Kevin. For Kevin it was the first trip without his parents.”
“Then we let go of all the brakes. Or we went for a walk or kick a ball together. And enjoyed the weather. (Laughs) Even though Kevin didn’t get out in the sun often, he preferred to lie under his umbrella.”
“Kevin had only brought 4 T-shirts with him for the entire holiday. After two days they were all dirty. He then washed them in the sink at the hotel and hung them in the sun.”
Kevin’s personality on the field was a stark contrast to the one next to it.
“Sportingly, I mainly remember his pure class. Kevin really scored a few world goals. I remember a half volley against Standard, but also a great bang against AA Gent.”
His personality on the field was in stark contrast to the one next to it. Kevin was a bum at the time, who was quite introverted. But when it came to football, he could suddenly have a big ‘jerk’. he could be very rushed. With his typical look – a red head – as a result. “
David Hubert frolicking with Kevin De Bruyne.
Eljero Elia (team mate Werder Bremen): “Friends still ask for him”
“I still remember a training session at Werder Bremen. The trainer indicated during a game that the ball had gone out. Kevin, who did not agree, went completely crazy.”
“He started swearing in Dutch, English and German. I really thought,” What the fuck? Kevin, do you know who you’re talking to? “You should know: that coach had been with Werder Bremen for more than 10 years. I really looked at it with really big eyes.”
“But the trainer didn’t do anything. It was a kind of respect and power that Kevin commanded through his performance. (Laughs) If I had done something like that, the club might have thrown me out.”
I laugh when I now revisit the images of Werder Bremen. Actually, all the danger came through Kevin.
“I sometimes laugh when I look back at the games back then. We played against the relegation with Werder Bremen, but actually all danger came through Kevin. A perfect corner or great through ball … He already stood out at the time. But he couldn’t do everything. do it alone. “
“My bond with him was excellent. We were real buddies. When his ex-girlfriend had cheated on him, I also tried to help him. He often came to eat with me and I also regularly with him. Kevin even went along once. with me to The Hague. My friends still talk to me about it when they see him at Manchester City: “Hey Kevin, how is he still doing?” “
Kevin De Bruyne with buddy Eljero Elia.
Naldo (team mate Wolfsburg): “World class was already clear at the time”
“In Germany it is customary that you accelerate every day. Even during training. But Kevin dared to take it a bit slower, especially in the beginning. Some teammates came to me after a week:” Say, Kevin has to do give gas, huh. “”
“But after a few weeks I didn’t hear anyone anymore. Then everyone noticed: okay, leave Kevin alone and on the weekend he runs 11 kilometers, scores or gives an assist. His world class was already clear at the time.”
You could see the fear in the eyes of the opponents when Kevin was on the ball.
“We had an incredible time in Wolfsburg. A fantastic team, with Kevin as one of the very best. You saw the fear in the eyes of the opponents when he was on the ball. He has decided a lot of duels for us. It does. I am very happy to see that he is now one of the best players in the world.