Injured De Bruyne named in City’s Club World Cup squad

Manchester City’s injured midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was a surprise inclusion in the treble winners’ squad for the FIFA Club World Cup on Wednesday.

De Bruyne has been sidelined since suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in City’s opening Premier League game of the season at Burnley in August.

The Belgian needed surgery on the problem, which he originally sustained in City’s Champions League final victory over Inter Milan.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, he said he hoped to return in early 2024.

City manager Pep Guardiola recently backed that assessment of his influential star’s fitness.

But FIFA’s official website confirmed De Bruyne’s presence in City’s 23-man squad for the tournament in Saudi Arabia.

Whether the 32-year-old will be fit enough to feature remains to be seen.

The Club World Cup begins on December 12 although City, who are representing Europe as the Champions League holders, do not enter until the semi-final stage seven days later.

They will play the winner of the second round match between Mexican side Club Leon and Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

City’s potential final opponents are Al Ahly, Al Ittihad, Auckland City and Fluminense.

Winning the Club World Cup would give City four major trophies this year after they clinched the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last term.

“This tournament is very important, very prestigious,” FIFA’s website quoted Guardiola as saying.

“It’s not easy to qualify for, nor to win. We miss just one trophy to finish the circle and win all the titles City can have.

“We will go there and prepare because for us it is a dream. The mood in the team is the best I can remember for many, many years.”

AFP

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