Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne has hinted at a possible exit from the club due to its Champions League ban. City was banned for two seasons from UEFA competition (Champions League and Europa League) and fined €30 million for breaking Financial Fair Play rules on Feb. 14. The investigation found that the club misled the European governing body over its Etihad sponsorship.
City has officially filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with the club hoping for a resolution before the summer. If upheld, the ban starts next season. There is also the possibility of winning the appeal or having the ban reduced to one season.
De Bruyne, who has been City's best player over the last few years, said his future with the club could depend on what the court's decision is.
"Once the decision is made, I will review everything," De Bruyne said according to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "Two years would be long - but in the case of one year I might see. I'm just waiting. The club told us they're going to appeal and they're almost 100 percent sure they're right.
"That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team."
Having the ban upheld would be a massive blow to a team searching for European success, and losing De Bruyne would add salt to the wound. De Bruyne is one of the top 10 players in the world and has been a goal and assist machine for City since arriving from Wolfsburg in 2015. In 209 matches, he has scored 50 times.
If De Bruyne does want to leave, expect clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and PSG to come calling.
While De Bruyne could leave, City coach Pep Guardiola said he wants to stay on with the club no matter the result of the appeal. City is currently in second place in the Premier League and would qualify for next season's Champions League if the team's ban isn't upheld.
Premier League and Champions League action have been postponed since March due to the coronavirus. City is on the verge of advancing to the UCL quarterfinals after going to Real Madrid and winning the first leg of their round of 16 clash.