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Kevin De Bruyne has admitted he is still unable to “feel anything on the left side” of his face and warned it could take six months to recover from the injury he sustained in the Champions League final.
The Manchester City star made his first appearance at Euro 2020, as he came off the bench to inspire Belgium to a come-from-behind victory over Denmark in Copenhagen.
De Bruyne missed the Red Devils’ opener against Russia, with the 29-year-old still recovering from the fractured nose and eye socket he suffered in last month’s showpiece.
His participation in this summer’s championships were thrown into major doubt after he was forced out of the Chelsea clash after a clash with Antonio Rudiger.
Kevin De Bruyne suffered serious facial injuries in the Champions League final vs Chelsea
(Image: Getty Images)
It was subsequently revealed he had suffered major facial fractures, similar to the ones picked up by boxer Billy Joe Saunders in his recent defeat to Canelo Alvarez.
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez revealed his star midfielder had been given the green light to play against Denmark and he showed he was more than ready with a stunning cameo off the bench.
With his side 1-0 down, De Bruyne inspired a second-half comeback, creating the first goal for Thorgen Hazard before scoring a thumping winner at the end of a flowing move.
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But in the aftermath of the win, he admitted that he is still feeling the effects of the injury and expects to do so for the remainder of 2021.
"I don't feel anything on the left side, like after a visit to the dentist," De Bruyne told ESPN. "My nerve is very badly affected, which could take six months. It's not a comfortable feeling, but the most important thing is that I can play.
The Belgium midfielder admitted he is still afraid to 'put his head in there' as he continues his recovery
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"The last two months have been up and down for me with minor injuries. After that fracture in the nose and eye socket, it was a bit of a wait.
"But luckily I came back in the fastest way. There was very good intensity for half an hour, [against Denmark] then I felt it. But I'm glad I was able to play."
De Bruyne is expected to be given another run-out in their final group game against Finland in St Petersburg, but has openly claimed he has still yet to fully regain confidence in duels against opponents.
He continued: My performance was OK. In duels I am sometimes afraid to put my head in it, but that's normal.
"I'm glad I could help the team, but am I ready to play 90 minutes? No idea.
"We have to wait and see how my body reacts and then we'll see after Finland. We are already qualified, so we can see how my body reacts."