Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Kevin De Bruyne to consider Manchester City future if two-year European ban is upheld but club '100 per cent' confident of appeal

Premier League champions provide 'irrefutable evidence' to Cas of their innocence against allegations of breaching licensing and FFP regulations

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has admitted he could leave the club if the two-year suspension from European football is upheld.

In February, City were banned from European club competitions for the next two seasons and handed a €30 million (Dh118m) fine after an investigation by the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) into allegations the club breached Uefa’s licensing and financial fair play regulations.

City swiftly registered their appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), with chief executive, Ferran Soriano, expecting the decision to be overturned as “irrefutable evidence” has been provided to prove the club’s innocence.

While City are confident the suspension will be dropped, De Bruyne has warned that two years without Champions League football could influence any decisions regarding his future.

"I'm just waiting. The club has told us that they are going to appeal and that they is almost one hundred per cent sure that they are right. That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team," the Belgian midfielder told HLN.

"Once the statement is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, in the case of one year I might see."

De Bruyne, 28, joined City from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg in 2015 and has established himself as arguably the finest midfielder in the Premier League, playing a central role in his team's successive league title triumphs and last season's unprecedented domestic treble.

The Belgium international has therefore become a prime target for transfer rumours, with speculation linking him with a future move to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, De Bruyne insists he has never had his head turned during his time at City.

"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," he said. "It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that too. What is coming is coming.

"But it's not that I've tried to leave City in those five years. I have also remained calm for my previous transfers. I have never had any problems and have always waited for my moment. With respect, because I think you get most of it back. Even outside of football."

While City have become an attractive destination for many top players in recent years, the opportunity to play under Pep Guardiola has been an added incentive since the Spaniard took charge in 2016.

Guardiola's current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020/21 season and it is unclear if he will extend his stay at the Etihad, although De Bruyne said his own future is not dependent on Guardiola's.

"I think Pep said he will take his year anyway no matter what. Then his contract ends. But I'm not going to let my decision depend on what Pep is doing," he said.

"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."

Updated: May 3, 2020 09:29 AM

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