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German Bundesliga

Kevin De Bruyne: The awkward enigma

The first rule of a gunfight; bring a gun. Second rule, bring friends with guns. That is exactly what Kevin is doing with his new posse consisting Bas Dost, Daniel Caligiuri and Maximilian Arnold, and boy aren’t they tearing up the Bundesliga and the Europa league! Kevin is the yin to Dost’s Yang.

Possibly the player with the worst fashion sense in world football, De Bruyne gives off an air of detached nonchalance from worldly distractions. Two years ago he was involved in a bit of a kerfuffle with Thibaut Courtois over female attentions and was inexplicably binned by Jose at Chelsea.

It was supposed to be Kevin, Lukaku and Hazard, a fairytale that was stomped on by a bitter white witch but that has not deterred KDB’s seemingly impregnable air of aloofness that is borderline arrogance. The kid believes in himself. Already on 21 assists this season he is the premier attacking midfield supremo in Europe yet he won’t bamboozle a defense with silky skills like Hazard, or dazzle a defender into a stupor a la Neymar. Rarely will he tie his marker in knots either, like Robben does, and that’s what makes our Kevin awkwardly special.

He is borderline clumsy at times and his touch deserts him and is so wayward, that even Rooney chuckles, but when he gets it right the ball nestles in his instep, he plays it an opera, he lulls it to sleep, plucks it out of obscurity like Poseidon claims lightning and manipulates the ball to his will. His soul and the ball is intertwined; a marvelous thing to watch. He passes, moves and demands it back. When a striker wants a goal, Kevin puts it on a plate in a picnic basket and lets Little Red Riding Hood deliver it in person. He is the real assist maestro and though statistics often lie, his reads like a good script and his performances more often than not co-relate with them.

KDB is much much more than a gangly, awkward and oft assistance giving footballer. After his various loan spell in Germany at Werder Bremen, a team that was swimming against the tide of relegation, he was forced to grow up very fast and his weird charisma had to shine through. This was weird, because he isn’t a vocal lad or too tenacious, he’s more homely than lung bursting and ferocious. You get the feeling that he is more cheeky in a Tom Sawyer kind of way, than a follow-the-light kind of leader, and yet he was an enormous factor in single handedly dragging Bremen out of the relegation dog fight. He let his football do the talking.

His shyness almost reminds you of a certain Ginger haired midfield dynamo who played for Manchester United, and his vendetta with Jose Mourinho aside he seems to have matured immensely in the short time they worked together. In Dieter Hecking’s rather expressive and most times plain gung-ho team tracking back is a tad harder for everyone, especially the chief playmaker, since they are always in and around the oppositions penalty area. However, it is not a rare sight to see him busting a gut, cheeks puffed and colored bright cherry red trying to chase down an opponent.

What he does so well is attack. He pulls defenders out of position and is generally nary a man defenders want to give an inch. Give a man an inch and he takes a mile and as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean succinctly puts it, take what you can and give nothing back – Kevin De Bruyne is that kind of a person. His running off the ball is excellent and, as Dante of Bayern Munich will attest, he was pulled out of position, taken back in and sent to Timbuktu via KLM before KDB smashed a belter into the cocky Neuer’s net, leaving the world’s best stopper red faced. This, without doubt, wiped the smug smiles off of Bayern Munchen’s faces.

That Dieter Hecking has this man-child eating out of his hands can only be good news for hipster fans of his. Jose hadn’t the foggiest idea of how to do that. Will he be on the move in the summer? His attacking notoriety and the way he plays with a fire in his belly has ensured that he’s forced himself into the reckoning of many a top club. If he goes he goes, but meanwhile, we should all sit back and enjoy Kevin and his merry band of friends shred and loot, destroy and plunder other teams like Pirates in the high seas. They do it with such grace and subtleness it beguiles you, that the band is led by an awkward man child with Ginger hair and a naughty face is of no consequence.