Kevin De Bruyne signed a new £83.2million contract with Manchester City until 2025 – after underlining his importance to Pep Guardiola’s side.
De Bruyne had two years left of his existing deal, but has committed to a two-year extension which will take in the rest of his top-level career.
Unusually, De Bruyne did not use an agent to broker the new deal, conducting negotiations with City himself, with his father and lawyer – both in Belgium – assisting remotely.
Even more remarkably, De Bruyne commissioned data analysts to assess his influence at City and how well they are set up for success in the coming years, based on the age and qualities of the current squad.
De Bruyne was able to show City, through data collected, his enduring value to the team as their most influential player, and used this to negotiate a significant pay-rise under the terms of the new deal.
The playmaker, 29, was on £350,00-a-week but that figure is understood to have risen to £400,000-a-week, consolidating his status as City’s highest earner on £20.8m-a-year.
De Bruyne, who has made 254 appearances since joining City from Wolfsburg in 2015, and was named PFA Player of the Year last season, said: “I could not be happier.
“Since joining City in 2015, I have felt at home. I love the fans, my family are settled here in Manchester and my own game has developed really well.
“This football club is geared for success. It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance, so signing this contract was a straightforward decision.
“I’m playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come.
“Pep and I see football in the same way. Having that relationship with a manager is so important to me, because our objectives are totally aligned and we want the same things.
“My focus now is on ensuring we have a successful end to the current campaign.
“Our results and performances so far have been excellent, but we need to make sure we end the season with the silverware we deserve.
“We’ve won a lot of trophies, the team is really good, and the way we play excites me – that’s the way I want to go forward.
“It’s not easy to compete all the time with these players because they’re so good, but they help me to perform the best I can.
“It’s a mix of everything that helps me be who I am, and I get to do what I do best, which is be on the pitch and help my team-mates win.”
City director of Football Txiki Begiristain said: “This is a very significant moment for this football club.
“Kevin is, without question, one of the best players in world football.
“His performance level has been remarkably consistent since coming to City, and in the last few years he has developed into one of the game’s elite players.
“We’re delighted he’s our player and I look forward to watching him during his peak years here.”