De Bruyne admits he was inspired by ex-Liverpool hero Owen growing up

‘When I was really young it was Michael Owen!’: Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne admits he was inspired by former Liverpool hero Michael Owen growing up… after picking up UEFA’s midfielder of the year award

  • Kevin de Bruyne has admitted he was inspired to play as a striker growing up
  • Belgian looked up to former Liverpool forward Michael Owen in his youth
  • He was speaking after being named UEFA midfielder of the year
  • UEFA’s awards ceremony during Champions League draw dominated by Bayern
  • Robert Lewandowski won player of the season as well as striker of the year 

Kevin de Bruyne may be looking to usurp Liverpool from the top of the Premier League this term but the Manchester City star has admitted he was inspired by former Reds star Michael Owen while growing up.

The Belgian was speaking after being named UEFA’s midfielder of the year ahead of the Champions League draw, an accolade awarded following a vote by players across the competition based on last season’s performance.

De Bruyne admitted he played as a striker as a child and looked up to Owen, who also featured for Man City’s local rivals Manchester United during his career. 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne (above) admits he was inspired by Michael Owen

De  Bruyne claimed the former Liverpool hero influenced him to try and play as a striker

‘When I was really young it was Michael Owen!, he told UEFA. ‘I was playing as a striker so it was similar at the time. When I became a midfielder I just loved the game but no one individual I really admired. I just liked football as a concept.’

Although City only reached the quarter-finals before a shock elimination by Lyon, his peers still recognised his influence and importance to Pep Guardiola’s side, and the 29-year-old revealed the secrets behind his success.

‘It is really nice because you compete against the best players in the world in the Champions League. In one way I would say my mind (is my best asset). As a midfield you have to think constantly and be ahead of the game. I try to find space we can exploit and put team-mates in the best positions for goal.’

The Man City star was speaking after being named UEFA’s midfielder of the year



Men’s – Robert Lewandowski 

Women’s – Pernille Harder (Chelsea*)

* Played at Wolfsburg last season 


Men’s – Manuel Neuer (Bayern)

Women’s – Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon)


Men’s – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern)

Women’s – Wendie Renard (Lyon) 


Men’s – Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Women’s – Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon)


Men’s – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)

Women’s – Pernille Harder (Chelsea*)

* Played at Wolfsburg last season


Women’s – Jean-Luc Vasseur (Lyon) 

Men’s – Hansi Flick (Bayern) 


Didier Drogba

De Bruyne was the odd man out in a mens’ category that was dominated by players from the Champions League winners Bayern Munich, including Robert Lewandowski who was named player of the year and striker of the year.

The Polish hitman was pivotal to Bayern’s success having scored an incredible 15 goals in just 10 games last term. 

The German outfit also claimed best goalkeeper of the year award with Manuel Neuer as well as defender of the year with Josh Kimmich, while manager Hansi Flick who helped mastermind the success collecting coach of the year.

‘It’s a big dream came true, Manuel (Neuer) knows the feeling but for me it was the first time and seeing the pictures and videos it is still amazing,’ Kimmich said.

The men’s awards were largely dominated by Champions League winners Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski was named player of the season as well as striker of the year

‘We had a lot of special moments, a great game against Tottenham and two great games against Chelsea. The season was outstanding.’

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba picked up the UEFA President’s Award becoming the first African player to do so in the process.  

The award, which was first awarded in 1998 and won by Eric Cantona last year, according to the governing body ‘recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities. The accolade focuses particularly on players who have advanced the game’s development and success, 

His Bayern team-mates Manuel Neuer (left) and Josh Kimmich also collected awards for being named goalkeeper and defender of the year respectively 

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba picked up the President’s Award

‘I am really proud of this and this should be an example of what African people and people from other non-European countries can go on to achieve, Drogba said after picking up his award.

‘The most important thing is football unites, it brings people together. Being here today receiving this award is something that makes me really proud.

‘I think we as players have a responsibility. Football is a reflection of society and so we have a responsibility towards the community. It is the community that goes to the games and entertains us as well. They give a lot. In these last few games we saw how much we miss them and that is why our goal is not just to play well but to help and give something back.’

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