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What Guardiola told De Bruyne
More from Kevin de Bruyne, who has revealed what Pep Guardiola told him during their first meeting at City.
He told the Player’s Tribune:
Pep and I share a similar mentality. To be fair, he’s even more intense about football than I am. He’s so, so stressed — all the time. However much mental stress we are under as players, I think he is under twice as much. Because he is not just interested in winning. He wants perfection.
The first meeting I ever had with Pep, he sat me down and he said, “Kevin, listen. You can be — easily — a top five player in the world. Top five. Easily.”
I was shocked. But when Pep said it with so much belief, it changed my whole mentality. It was kind of genius, I think. Because I felt like I had to prove him right, instead of prove him wrong.
Most of the time, football is about negativity and fear. But with Pep, it’s about extreme positivity. He sets goals that are so high that they’re almost impossible to reach. He is a tactical master, yes. There’s no doubt about this. But what people on the outside don’t see is the pressure he puts on himself to try to achieve perfection.