Kevin De Bruyne became the first Manchester City player to finish in the top three of the Ballon d’Or standings this week, and there is confidence within the club that it won’t be long before a City player wins the award outright.
Whether that is De Bruyne, who continues to put in match-winning performances for club and country, or a younger teammate, is a matter for discussion, with Phil Foden another player capable of challenging for these awards in future.
And City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes that striker Erling Haaland also possesses all the right qualities to be a future Ballon d’Or winner, and he has wasted no time in displaying the right mentality in his short time at the Etihad.
“There is quality – everyone can see it. There is a lot of quality that he already brings. Into our team, into his game,” Gundogna told City’s website.
“But also, the way he is dealing with things that are important to him and the mentality, the determination he has on a match day and also in the training sessions in the locker room. I think that is something special. And on top of that he is humble.
“He knows he has to work hard to get where he is right now and to even get to better places. I’m sure that all this together will just improve him more and more… not just this season but in the next few years.
“And it will make him an incredible player. He is already one but he will just get better and I think this will increase his chances to win the Ballon d’Or.”
After De Bruyne came third, Haaland was tenth in the overall standings for the 2022 Ballon d’Or for recognition of his form with Borussia Dortmund last season. Riyad Mahrez was 12th, Foden and Bernardo Silva were joint 22nd, and Joao Cancelo was joint 25th. With seven nominations across the men’s and women’s categories, City were named Club of the Year after collecting the most nominations for the two awards.