Kevin De Bruyne bagged the PFA Player of the Year award for the second year running, which puts him in some elite company. The Belgian is now only the third player in history to retain the award, after Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, many fans were shocked since they expected either Harry Kane or Ruben Dias to be announced as the winner.
The main argument to rule De Bruyne out of the discussion is that his season was heavily plagued with injuries. He only played 25 games, and in them, he scored 6 goals and assisted 12. If you consider these games alone, then the return for a midfielder is remarkable.
However, if you compare De Bruyne’s season to Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United, an interesting discovery comes out. Both the players are attack-minded and have a similar profile in the heart of the park.
The Portuguese exceeds his fellow midfield competition on almost every major stat. He has made more passes forward, scored more goals, and has more interceptions and crosses.
Of course, it is worth remembering that the Manchester United player has made more appearances than his rival in this comparison. However, one of them won the league, and the other came second.
While De Bruyne is surely the better player, Fernandes’ season in isolation has been much better than De Bruyne by the numbers. Hence, while the Belgian is great in his own right, it is still worth debating that Kane or Dias deserved the award more. Perhaps even Fernandes since he had the better season?