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UEFA Men's Player of the Year nominee: the case for Kevin De Bruyne

The Manchester City and Belgium midfielder is one of the top three nominees for the 2021/22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

Kevin De Bruyne is one of the top three nominees for the 2021/22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

UEFA.com analyses why he is in the running alongside Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois.

Men's Player of the Year nominees

Why he was nominated

The midfield schemer makes the top three for the third season in a row. He was named as the Premier League Player of the Season after inspiring City to another domestic title, his fourth during his seven seasons at the club.

The Belgian was man of the match and sole goalscorer as City edged past Atlético in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg and struck again at home to Real Madrid in the last four. Nine of his 12 goals in the UEFA Champions League have been scored in knockout games – further proof of him being City's man for the big occasion.

2021/22 in numbers

Premier League winner, Premier League Player of the Season

UEFA Champions League
Appearances: 10
Goals: 2
Assists: 3
Player of the Match awards: 1

Domestic League
Appearances: 30
Goals: 15
Assists: 8

Top three performances

Player of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne highlights and reaction

Manchester City 1-0 Atlético
Diego Simeone's resilient outfit appeared to be the antidote to Pep Guardiola's free-scoring team as City toiled for 69 minutes. Then, De Bruyne burst on to Phil Foden's pass to sweep in what proved to be the only goal of the tie.

Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid
The semi-final first leg was a complete contrast to the grind against Atlético, De Bruyne lighting the touchpaper inside two minutes with a wonderful diving header from Riyad Mahrez's cross. Nine minutes later, he set up Gabriel Jesus for the second too.

Sporting CP 0-5 Manchester City
Another first leg – this time in the round of 16 – and another clutch moment that shaped the course of the game. Though De Bruyne did not score the opener this time, his quick thinking set up Mahrez for the first goal and City rode off into the distance.

Who was last year's winner?

Jorginho won the 2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award after becoming only the tenth player to win a European Cup and a EURO in the same year. The midfielder inspired Chelsea to UEFA Champions League glory with his ability to dictate play and Roberto Mancini took note, making him the linchpin of Italy's EURO 2020-winning side.