Kevin De Bruyne says he played with ankle ligament damage in Belgium’s Euro 2020 defeat to Italy, in news that will concern Manchester City ahead of the new season.
De Bruyne had been a major doubt going into the quarter final, after injuring his ankle in the last-16 win over Portugal. The City man hadn’t trained between his enforced substitution against Portugal and the Italy clash, but was named in the starting XI by Roberto Martinez on Friday.
Explaining the surprise inclusion, Martinez said before the game: “Kevin De Bruyne has not trained with the group.
“But you add that to a tournament. We look forward to seeing him play. De Bruyne has received treatment. The focus was on him yesterday, on both [De Bruyne and Hazard] actually. Both have had an individual medical day.
“De Bruyne reacted well, his injury is also slightly different from Eden’s. Kevin is different. We got good light and that was fantastic news this morning. We think he can start the match.”
After the match started, De Bruyne looked bright, forcing the issue for Belgium and going close on a number of occasions. However, Italy scored two fine goals and progressed with a 2-1 win on the night, leaving Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ without a trophy once again.
And De Bruyne spoke after the match to reflect on his decision to play, revealing the concerning extent of the injury he had been playing with.
“For me personally it has been four or five weird weeks,” he said.
“But I especially want to thank the medical staff. It was a miracle that I played today because there was definitely damage to my ankle. A tear in my ligaments.
“But I felt responsibility to play for my country today. Too bad I couldn’t do more.”
On the game, De Bruyne said injuries stopped Belgium from reaching top gear, as he made a further admission on his personal injury record.
He said: “I think we tried everything to win this match. They scored a fantastic goal, but the first one may have been a mistake on our part.
“They had more possession and the ball didn’t go in for us, which is a shame. Getting eliminated is always a disappointment.
“It was a difficult tournament for us, we suffered many injuries. We fought until the end. Italy were better than us in the first half, but in the second we created more chances. We could have got it to 2-2 but we didn’t,’ he continued.
“We lost against a top-notch team. We’ll try to win next time, at the World Cup, but first I have to recover physically. I’ve had too many (injury) problems in the last few years but I’ve always tried to give everything for the team.”