Kevin De Bruyne insists there will be no “shame” or regret if he doesn’t win the Champions League with Manchester City.
Despite winning the English Premier League four times in the past five seasons, Europe’s biggest prize has so far eluded the Abu Dhabi-owned club.
There has been only frustration and disappointment as City have come so near, yet so far in fulfilling their dream of becoming European champions for the first time.
“Obviously you want to win it,” midfielder De Bruyne, 31, told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
“If I never win it, it’s not a shame, because we have been consistently fighting for it. I don’t see anything as a regret when I have given it my best shot.
“I cannot complain with how my career went, or the trophies that I have won at many teams.”
City visit Sevilla on Tuesday for their Group G opener as again one of the favorites to take the title.
De Bruyne, who has won 10 major trophies since joining the club in 2015, suffered a fractured nose and eye socket when City lost the final to Chelsea a year ago.
He was then substituted in May’s 3-1 semifinal second-leg loss to Real Madrid, where the eventual winners launched a dramatic comeback from two goals down on aggregate with a last-minute double from Brazilian Rodrygo.
“At the moment it hurts what happened last season, and before,” said the Belgium international.
“I think afterwards when you reflect on situations, sometimes you lose and in that moment it can be painful, but after you have to take it as it is.
“It’s not that we gave it away. We lost against good teams and certain situations were not in our favor and that happens and you have to accept it.
“I think the team has been ready for years to win it. But look at the Real Madrid situation, it just changed in five minutes.
“Two games don’t change my opinion of the way we played. In my opinion, we played the home game good and the away game decent,” said De Bruyne.
“But five minutes changed everything. If we would win, or they don’t score those two goals, it is a different view obviously. But that happens and you cannot base opinions on five-minute events,” he added.
“It’s never a regret because I tried everything, the team tried everything.”
City are in a group with Borussia Dortmund and FC Copenhagen.
De Bruyne’s contribution will be integral to City’s hopes of dethroning Real Madrid as champions.
The 15-goal exploits of French striker Karim Benzema proved decisive for the Spanish side as they won a 14th European Cup by overcoming Liverpool 1-0 in the Paris final.
Benzema, 34, is now widely expected to receive this year’s Ballon d’Or, an honor De Bruyne, despite being nominated seven times, may never claim unless he can help City to Champions League success.
He added: “It’s an honor to be in that list for many many years now and it’s nice to have the recognition for the work you do.
“Would I like to win it? Obviously every player would. But individual awards are something after all the rest and it depends on many many things.”