According to ESPN, Pep Guardiola believes that Kevin De Bruyne can rival the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the Balon d’Or

After completing a hat-trick of assists against Leicester on Saturday, as well as being one of City’s main men in their hugely triumphant season so far, many people, as well as his manager, have been full of praise for the Belgian midfielder.

Over the past decade, the Balon d’Or has been dominated by both Cristiano Ronaldo and a former player for Guardiola and arguably the greatest footballer ever, Lionel Messi.

However, this hasn’t stopped the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager from ruling out De Bruyne for the award.

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Guardiola said this about De Bruyne when asked about his Balon d’Or chances.

He is not one game. It’s the whole season, every three days, playing that way every three games. He knows, and everyone knows, to be there you have to win titles and titles and titles. The way he played, it’s difficult to find [a better] one in Europe.

De Bruyne has played down the suggestion, saying he is focused on the team.

I do everything to win titles with the team. What happens after is an extra, I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way. It makes it easier for me, it makes it easier for them. At the end, if you get an individual honour it is beautiful.

Although he may not win it this year, when Messi and Ronaldo hang up their boots, it will be very interesting to see the likes of De Bruyne, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele all compete for the top individual award in football.