Mo Salah award 'important for Egypt and Africa,' says Man City captain

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says teammate Kevin de Bruyne should have won one of the most prestigious awards in English football.

Posted: May 4, 2018 11:22 AM
Updated: May 4, 2018 11:24 AM

Loyalty means Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes his teammate Kevin de Bruyne should have won the award given to the best player in England's Premier League.

But as the son of a Congolese political refugee, he also acknowledges awarding Mohamed Salah the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year trophy will have positive consequences in his beloved Africa.

The Egyptian, who has dazzled in the Premier League and Champions League in his debut season for Liverpool, became the first African player to capture an award which has previously been won by greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Gareth Bale.

In a closely run battle between Salah and De Bruyne -- the midfielder who orchestrated Manchester City's English Premier League triumph -- the Egyptian's 43 goals this season swung the votes.

This week, Salah also became the first African player to be named the Football Writers' Footballer of the Year. De Bruyne had to settle for second place on both occasions.

READ: A day in the life of Mo Salah

READ: Mo Salah -- Egypt's world envoy

Asked whether De Bruyne should have won the Players' Player of the Year award, the Belgium defender -- who once said "I am 100% Congolese and 100% Belgian" -- tells CNN Sport: "I'm going to be biased. I'm going to say yes, of course.

"But how can you take away from Salah what he's achieved? He's an African player, which I'm happy about as well.

"It's important for a lot of [reasons]. It's going to have a big impact in his country and for the continent as well. But Kevin is a master brain of football.

"The way he sees and understands the game is beyond what you can see in terms of ability from any player and that's why it's difficult to categorize Kevin's performance.

"If you take the full package, the passes, the amount of actions he's made that were so clever and different from what anyone else would've done you would put him on another level."

The best Premier League team in history?

No player in the league has made more goal assists than De Bruyne's 15 this season and the midfielder's laser passes have been integral not only to City winning the Premier League title, but potentially doing so with a record number of goals, wins and points in a season.

City are one goal shy of equaling Chelsea's record of 103 goals in a title-winning season, while they are also only two points adrift of the Blues' record points total of 95, secured in the 2004-05 campaign.

A victory in any of their three remaining league fixtures -- against relegation-threatened Huddersfield, Southampton and Brighton -- will also see City surpass the record of 30 league wins they currently share with Chelsea.

There is much left to play for this month, Kompany admits, as well as new targets to be set -- such as winning back-to-back titles for the first time in the club's history.

"Now [the records] has to be everything for us," says the Belgian, who is expected to be a key player for his country, lining up for Belgium alongside De Bruyne, at the forthcoming World Cup in Russia.

"It feels special. This season it would be great to achieve those goals. The manager is driven by it, the team is driven by it. But I want to look further and see if we can win maybe one or two more [titles] straight on the back of this.

"That would be really awesome. So, as much as I have these three weeks in my head, I also have three years in my head.

"Yes, okay, we've done well. A lot of great stories to tell my kids when they're a little older, but right now I just want to look at what we can still achieve. Holding on to what we've done and what we've created is such a big big task, such a difficult task.

"The younger guys can enjoy and I'll just kind of focus on that."

Is the current Manchester City team the best in Premier League history? Have your say on our Facebook page.

A ruthless Guardiola machine

Masterminding City's recent success, of course, is Pep Guardiola, one of the most successful managers in history, a respected Catalan who has won league titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The 32-year-old Kompany describes captaining Guardiola's team as the "easiest job in the world."

"Most of the things [Guardiola] has installed are being respected by the players without necessarily too much policing involved, which is great," says the three-time league champion, who adds that Guardiola talks about his trophy-laden days in Spain and Germany at key moments of the season.

The difference between this season's title winners, Kompany says, and the City team which finished third in the league last season is the addition of a killer instinct at critical moments.

"Last season we developed a similar game, we played really well. But in key moments we just weren't as effective as we were this year," he explains.

"And, on top of that, I think youth. We have a young team, lots of legs, lots of positive desire to do well. And all these guys needed to achieve something and they've done it now. And now it's Mr Grumpy's role to tell them they've done nothing yet! Let's do more."

The defender speaks like a man who will be around for the foreseeable future to achieve more with a club which has ambitions of Champions League glory.

Though his career of late has been hampered by injury -- he has made just 16 league appearances this season and last season was able to make only 11 league appearances -- Kompany says his positive attitude has been key to his numerous comebacks.

"I don't have any sort of doubt in my mind, I know how I'm going to come back," says the influential centre back, who has suffered with groin, hamstring and calf problems in recent years.

"The great thing for me, I know that if I don't play for three months or four months I can within a week and do well. I have that belief in myself.

"I'm not worried about getting extra game time, extra minutes, and all this kind of stuff that so many other players will worry about."

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