Kevin De Bruyne claims he has nothing to prove to Chelsea as he prepares to return to Stamford Bridge with Manchester City.
The Belgian, now one of City’s most influential players after a hugely impressive first season at the Etihad Stadium, had an unsuccessful spell with the London club earlier in his career.
De Bruyne made just nine appearances for Chelsea before being sold to Wolfsburg for £18million by then manager Jose Mourinho in 2014.
Just 18 months later he joined City in a club record £54million deal and has not looked back since. The 24-year-old has scored 15 times for City this season, including three in his last four appearances since returning from injury and the winner in Tuesday’s superb Champions League quarter-final win over Paris St Germain.
City travel to Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, but De Bruyne told his club’s website, www.mcfc.co.uk: “I don’t feel I have to prove anything to anyone because there’s nothing really to say. It’s not a case of I played a lot and played badly – I just didn’t play.
“It is what it is and I’m just going there to try and help City win the game, which is really important for us.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini also does not feel people should dwell on why De Bruyne failed to make an impact at Chelsea.
Pellegrini said: “It’s difficult to answer. Maybe three years ago Kevin wasn’t the same player as he is now.
“He didn’t have the options at Chelsea because they had more important players at that moment, and he was young.
“But the important thing is that Chelsea sold him and we bought him.”
Asked if he thought Chelsea might now be regretting the sale, Pellegrini said: “I suppose they’re not happy, but that happens.
“There are a lot of different cases. (Paul) Pogba was free from Manchester United and now he is a very important player, but Pogba at that moment was not the same Pogba that he is today.”
De Bruyne spent two months on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage at the end of January.
During his time out City fell out of contention for the Premier League title and his performances since returning to action have underlined how much his absence was felt.
Defender Gael Clichy said: “I’m not the kind of person who likes to say this player has been missed or this player should have been fit, but the stats talk for him and it’s hard to pretend that we couldn’t have had a better season if he was fit.
“He’s the kind of player who even if he doesn’t play well can give you something, a goal or an assist.
“I will let people who analyse the game decide if we would have been higher or lower with him, but he’s just a great player to have.”