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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Mohamed Salah v Kevin de Bruyne for Player of the Year is 'impossible' choice

The Manchester City midfielder thinks it is hard to choose between him and the Liverpool forward for the PFA's top honour this season

Kevin De Bruyne, left, believes it is hard to pick between him and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah for the Player of the Year award. Peter Powell / EPA
Kevin De Bruyne, left, believes it is hard to pick between him and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah for the Player of the Year award. Peter Powell / EPA

Kevin de Bruyne believes his fellow footballers face an impossible choice between him and Mohamed Salah for the PFA Player of the Year award.

The Manchester City midfielder thinks he merits the accolade after surprising himself with his level of performance this season, but admitted the Liverpool winger has been “incredible”.

Salah is the Premier League’s top scorer with 29 but De Bruyne has the most assists, with 15, and he feels their differences make it hard to judge who has been better.

“You cannot compare – it is impossible,” said De Bruyne. “Salah has a remarkable goalscoring run, and he plays very well like an inside forward type of role. This season he has been incredible. He has been outstanding, his record speaks for itself.

“With the statistics how are we going to compare ourselves? It's totally different, I played [on Saturday at Everton] like a defensive midfielder; how you can compare me to an inside forward? I have no idea.”

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De Bruyne has been the outstanding individual in a City team who could clinch the Premier League title at its earliest ever date on Saturday and are on course to beat Chelsea’s divisional records of 95 points and 103 goals.

He scored the winner when City beat defending champions Chelsea in September and has added goals against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

“If I get it, it would be nice for the team and for me,” De Bruyne added. “In one way, I believe I deserve it, because I have been very consistent in my form. I am very happy with myself, I am very pleased with how I have played, I didn't expect to be this good this season, to be honest.”

“I think there is almost no game where my standard has dropped, so I have been very constant, and I am very happy with myself. To maintain the level the amount of games I have played, the amount of minutes, I am very pleased with that.

He has long been the frontrunner to become the first City player to be named PFA Player of the Year since the award was introduced in 1974.

But Salah’s run of 16 goals in 14 games has propelled him into consideration and Stoke striker Peter Crouch, Bournemouth forward Jermain Defoe and Leicester’s title-winning defender Danny Simpson are among those who have revealed they are voting for the former Roma player.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Alastair Grant / AP Photo
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Alastair Grant / AP Photo

Salah, who has struck 37 times in all competitions, is on course to beat the Premier League record of 34 goals in a one season.

The Egyptian is the top scorer in any of Europe’s five major leagues, and has also proved prolific in the Champions League.

Now Europe offers a chance to compare the pair again with City visiting Liverpool on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

“It is all or nothing,” added De Bruyne, who added that he is yet to cast his ballot in the annual voting, though players are barred from choosing themselves of team-mates.

De Bruyne may suffer if the City vote is split, with team-mates such as David Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling potentially getting the backing of some of their peers, but believes it will come down to which characteristics his fellow professionals value most.

“I think it depends on what people are looking for in a player,” he said.