KEVIN DE BRUYNE has found it easy to forget about Manchester City’s heartbreaking Champions League final defeat in May.
That is because he was on the wrong end of a blow from Antonio Rudiger’s shoulder — and does not remember much before or after it.
He missed the last half-hour of the 1-0 defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea and was taken to hospital in Porto for treatment on a fractured eye socket.
All he can recall from then on is returning to the team hotel the following morning still wearing his City kit from the night before.
Then came a rallying call from club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak who told him to be proud of the season rather than dwell on the final defeat.
Looking back on one of the most disappointing nights of his career, De Bruyne said: “There’s not a lot of memories. It’s a bit dark maybe.
“I remember some chances in the first half and the goal but after the collision I don’t remember a lot. I don’t remember how I got into the hospital on the night itself.
“I remember going back in the morning to the team hotel at 10am still with my City kit on, that’s what I remember.
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“It’s sport — it happens. It’s not the best thing that ever happened but you go on with it.
“These type of games you can lose, the other teams are very good. And that particular night we lost the game so we move on.”
Despite losing the final, Khaldoon wanted to be positive about the season which had seen them win a league and Carabao Cup double.
KDB, 30, added: “I think the chairman spoke to some of the team in the morning, I’ve no idea when.
“He just said he was happy with what I contributed to the team and in the year.
‘WE WILL BE BACK’
“He said some positive words like, ‘We will be back, we’ll be fighting again to try to win the trophy’.
“There was not a lot of people in a good mood, I felt strange at the time with everything that happened.
“It was nice to hear that from the chairman because it was a very big blow for everybody. It was a positive but short conversation.”
The desire to win the Champions League still burns brightly for Belgian star De Bruyne and for all of City’s domestic success it remains the one trophy missing from the cabinet.
Their hopes of doing it this year suffered a setback when they were beaten 2-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in a memorable game last month.
De Bruyne added: “I think people will always set the standard higher and higher because of what we have done in England for the last five or six years.
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“People expect us to win the Champions League — and that is what we want to do. We are always competing for it but we have not managed to win it but we are trying.
“Hopefully in my period here we will get one. Does it define your legacy? For people outside maybe.
“It depends, you look at the situation and I’m happy with what we’ve done as a club for the last six years.”
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