World Cup 2022: ‘We’re too old’ – Kevin De Bruyne says Belgium have ‘no chance’ of winning in Qatar


Kevin De Bruyne has said Belgium have “no chance” of winning the 2022 World Cup because they are “too old”.

Although Belgium edged out Canada 1-0 in their opening game, their performance failed to set the world alight.

The average age of the entire squad is the sixth oldest in Qatar, but more than half of the starting 11 against Canada were 30 years old or above.

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Much of Belgium’s “Golden Generation” including Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen and De Bruyne himself will be past their peak by the time 2026 comes around, or may not feature at all.

Asked by The Guardian whether Belgium could win the World Cup, De Bruyne answered: “No chance, we’re too old

“I think our chance was 2018. We have a good team, but it is ageing. We lost some key players. We have some good new players coming, but they are not at the level other players were in 2018. I see us more as outsiders.”

De Bruyne urges Belgium to do better following a disappointing performance against Canada

The 31-year-old has been a stalwart in Manchester City’s midfield, helping them to dominate English football over the last seven years since he joined in 2015.

His link-up play with Erling Haaland has been one of the most intriguing aspects of the Premier League this season with City still favourites to retain their title, despite Arsenal leading the way.

De Bruyne is City’s best-paid player with an estimated salary of £385,000 a week. He thinks the increased attention when you become a top footballer is more important than money.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the money, it’s the attention,” he said. “If you go from no attention to wherever you go people give you attention, then that changes you.

“You either take everything in or block everything out. Some people like all the attention, but after a while it becomes so much you get eaten up by it. Then if you push it out you seem arrogant. It’s a thin line you have to walk.

“Because I’m a foreigner living here, I’m still OK. When you’re an English player, the attention flows from everywhere. It would be too much for me.”

On whether he earns too much, De Bruyne answered: “No. I compare it to a singer at a concert and 60,000 people come. I look at it logically.

“There are millions of people watching the football on TV, there’s 60,000 watching the games, the income of a club is £500-£600m. Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but is it too much? If the club can afford it, it’s not too much. It’s not a popular answer, but that’s how I see it.”

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To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.

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