Kevin De Bruyne – The ‘Ginger Pele’
Footballers earn nicknames for a variety of reasons, some will be given in jest, while others will complement players by comparing them with great players from bygone years. Pele was arguably the greatest player to ever pull on a pair of football boots so it was inevitable that comparisons would be made with him. Zico and Wayne Rooney have both been referred to as the ‘White Pele’ while Gary Doherty and James Collins have been awarded the equivalent ‘Ginger’ title. The former was even immortalised by having the ‘One Ginger Pele’ song included in a football chants publication.
Kevin De Bruyne is the latest player to earn the ‘Ginger Pele’ tag, and, judging by this Oulala comparison with Chelsea’s current crop of midfielders, it looks like the Blues made a serious mistake when they opted to let the Belgian international leave.
De Bruyne fired Manchester City into the semi-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday and he will have the opportunity to show the Stamford Bridge faithful exactly what they are missing when Manchester City visit this weekend. De Bruyne arrived at the Etihad with a reputation as something of a set-piece specialist and despite some fierce competition the Belgian midfielder is slowly establishing himself as their number one dead ball threat. He has taken more corners than any other player, 75 out of the 229 they have earned, despite starting just 18 Premier League games.
It’s also worth noting that City have had a spot of bother in the Premier League this season with Sergio Agüero, Wilfried Bony and Aleksandar Kolarov all having missed from twelve yards. Agüero fluffed his lines again in midweek, missing the target against PSG, so don’t be too surprised if De Bruyne, who is 2 from 2 for the Belgium national side, is given a chance sometime soon.
His 9 assists put him way ahead of the Chelsea quartet, although, it should be noted that Pedro is matching City’s Number 17 in terms of goals scored. Pedro has in fact turned his Chelsea career around, since Jose Mourinho departed, providing a much needed boost for incoming manager Antonio Conte.
Pedro will be hoping to keep up his run of good form under Guus Hiddink against the Champions League semi-finalists but it’s more than possible that De Bruyne will come back to haunt Chelsea.
It promises to be a cracking match but one thing is for sure, Kevin De Bruyne is developing into a real fantasy football ‘animal’ and if he is given penalty kick taking duties anytime soon that really would be the icing on the cake for the ‘Ginger Pele’!