De Bruyne teams up with Belgium squad after surgery


Tubize (Belgium) (AFP) – Kevin De Bruyne joined up with the Belgium squad on Monday but remains a major doubt for their Euro 2020 opener against Russia after undergoing minor surgery on a facial injury, his coach Roberto Martinez said.

“Kevin De Bruyne has joined the group and that’s fantastic news. He looks ready, he looks fresh, and just to see him walking into the dining room was a real highlight of the day,” Martinez told reporters at Belgium’s team base near Brussels.

The Manchester City playmaker underwent “a small operation” on his face on Saturday morning after suffering fractures to his nose and left eye socket in a collision with Chelsea’s Antonio Ruediger in the Champions League final on May 29.

Martinez admitted De Bruyne may struggle to be ready to play against Russia in Saint-Petersburg in Belgium’s first Group B game on Saturday.

“He joins the medical department now for the next few days and then whenever we get the green light he is going to be integrated into the sporting side,” said the former Everton manager.

“At the moment I am not counting on Kevin to be in the first game but if that changes it will be because he adapts well to his own programme,” he continued, adding that “it is to early to decide” when he will be able to play.

Belgium, who travel to Saint-Petersburg on Friday, will also face Denmark in Copenhagen on June 17 and Finland, back in Russia, on June 21.

On Sunday De Bruyne became just the third player to win the English Professional Footballers’ Association’s (PFA) player of the year prize for a second consecutive season.

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