Kevin De Bruyne just behind Lionel Messi, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Kevin De Bruyne, grande protagonista nel successo del poker sul Bournemouth (Getty)
Image: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring against Bournemouth

Pep Guardiola said Kevin De Bruyne is on a level behind only Lionel Messi after he starred in Manchester City's 4-0 win over Bournemouth.

De Bruyne was the standout player in a brilliant team display by City at the Etihad Stadium, where goals from him, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan secured a fifth straight Premier League win and eighth from eight games in all competitions this term.

And City boss Guardiola said: "I think he is a special, outstanding player. He makes everything. Without the ball he is the first fighter, and with the ball he is clear - he sees absolutely everything.

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"Every time he makes the right decision. That is why he is a player on another level.

"We are lucky to have him and I hope he can enjoy playing his amazing football with us."

Highlights from Man City's 4-0 win over Bournemouth

Asked if he thought De Bruyne was the Premier League's best player, Guardiola said: "I don't know.

"Of course, he is one of the best, there is no doubt about that, but to be the best, it depends on what you are going to win.

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"If you are able to win titles, there will be a chance for that. Maybe. Maybe I'm wrong.

Pep Guardiola gives his reaction to Man City's 4-0 thumping of Bournemouth

"I think he would like to win these individual prizes - all the players like that. But I think he is happy when he plays with performances like today."

When then asked about how De Bruyne ranked among the great players he has managed, ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola said: "He's one of them.

"When we talk about Messi, maybe he can sit alone in the table, with no-one else allowed. But in the table beside, Kevin can sit there."

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