“He just held on to one of the posts and refused to let go. He was in a rage. Three of us tried to pull him away from it but we didn’t manage.”
Kevin De Bruyne’s youth coach at Genk, Frank De Leyn, remembers the incident well. A young De Bruyne had been reprimanded for not helping to clear up the pitch after training and became so infuriated at being told off that he grabbed one of the posts and refused to let go.
“It was at a training camp in Spain,” De Leyn continues. “I stayed with him because he was planning to stay there all night. After a long conversation I finally managed to convince him to let go. We walked back to the hotel hand in hand. He was stubborn as hell, like a mule, but I also think that it is that stubbornness, that character trait, that has made him the player he is now.”
De Bruyne’s rise has been remarkable and it is fair to say that he has reached a different level this season. He is not in the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi bracket but…