Kevin De Bruyne: the gloriously unfiltered star who gives oxygen to Belgium

Kevin De Bruyne: the gloriously unfiltered star who gives oxygen to Belgium

16-Jun-2024 11:00:47 | The Guardian

Manchester City midfielder never hides his feelings and while that was bad in Qatar, it could be good in Germany

Frédéric Waseige was beginning to despair. Here he was on the touchline of the Cristal Arena, standing in the pouring rain, waiting to get the green light from the TV studio to start his post‑match interview with an 18‑year‑old Kevin De Bruyne, with no umbrella to protect them from the elements. The teenager, who had just become a regular for Racing Genk, had been the game’s outstanding player; and here he was, getting soaked to the skin, being told every couple of minutes that he’d have to wait a bit longer for the camera to roll and the questions to begin. Waseige knew what it must have felt like for the youngster. He’d been a player too, playing a Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final for FC Liège against Juventus back in 1991, before becoming French‑speaking Belgium’s most popular pundit.

He knew that the one place De Bruyne wanted to be right here, right now, was his team’s dressing room, not a now deserted rainswept stadium. So he apologised, again and again, fearing the player might disappear any second. Yet De Bruyne himself seemed unaffected by the wait. “Te tracasse pas” (“No worries”), he kept saying. “I was so embarrassed,” Waseige recalls. “But that’s Kevin for you. Should the same thing happen again today, he’d behave exactly the same way. Te tracasse pas! He never changed. What you see is what you get, and what you get is something unique: a great player who is also a normal person.”

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