Manchester City’s De Bruyne has a rare off day as Belgium lose World Cup semi-final

Kevin De Bruyne was a hugely influential figure in Manchester City’s Premier League title-winning campaign last season.

On Tuesday night on the biggest stage of all, one thing was clear after the final whistle blew – De Bruyne is in need of a rest.

The 27-year-old, rated at £135m by Transfermarkt, played the full 90 minutes of Belgium’s World Cup semi-final against France, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for De Bruyne and his teammates.

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The former Chelsea midfielder is not used to losses, but he was unable to drag his team back into contention.

By his standards, the 67-cap international was below par as he struggled to pull the strings in Roberto Martinez’s star-studded team.

De Bruyne delivered in some pin-point accurate long balls for Romelu Lukaku, but other than that, his influence over the game was minimal.

He lost the ball multiple times in the middle of the park, and his passing accuracy was the worst out of every outfield player that started for Belgium.

In terms of threat in front of goal, De Bruyne produced just one shot on target and only one of his crosses found the danger area.

It was a rare off day for Pep Guardiola’s star man, and it showed that after a long season, now is the time for the midfielder to rest up ready for the new challenge that awaits.