Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne doesn’t think he’s “too far” away from challenging for the Ballon d’Or.
The Belgium international has been one of the Premier League’s best players over the past few seasons and he’s contributed 18 assists and nine goals in all competitions so far this term.
Despite all his success for City, helping the club win the Premier League in the last two seasons, the 28-year-old is yet to come in the top ten of Ballon d’Or voting.
“I just try to be the best I can be. I’ve been playing well over the last few years and even last season, I had a lot of injuries but the times that I was on the pitch, I was doing OK. Even in Germany, I had good years and I felt happy, but who decides [the best footballers], I don’t know, but I think I’m pretty close.
“It helps [being nominated for the Ballon d’Or], but first and foremost is team performance. I know if the team performs well and I perform with them, I will get the accolades. Over the last few years, I’ve been in contention for the top 30 in the world and it feels good because you work very hard in your profession and to be acknowledged as being really good at what you do is always nice to hear.
“It gives me the motivation to stay there and be on top for as long as I can because [playing] football is for a short period of time and I just want to be the best version of what I can be. What that is, I don’t know, but every year is different and this year went really well for me.
“I think I’m more of a complete footballer than I was a few years ago. I’ve had some good years in my career but I think either side of the ball, mentally, leading a team, I’m better now than I was two or three years ago. I think I’m doing really well and I feel comfortable and happy with the way I’m performing.”