KEY POINTS

  • Jack Grealish has signed a deal with City until 2026
  • City signed him at a Premier League record of $139 million
  • Grealish scored seven goals and 12 assists last season for Villa

Manchester City's new signing Jack Grealish Thursday hailed now-teammate Kevin de Bruyne, calling him the “best in the world” after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Grealish, who moved from his boyhood club Aston Villa to Manchester City at a fee of $139 million, became the most expensive player of the Premier League and was officially announced by the Etihad side on Thursday.

"I have spoken about him a good few times. I have always said that apart from Ronaldo and Messi I think he is the best in the world. I think he has got absolutely everything. He is another one where I don’t think people give him credit for how fast he is," Grealish, who is set to wear No. 10 jersey at his new club, said in his very first interview as a City player.

Grealish, who has been tied down by the league champions until 2026, recently produced impressive performances at the Euros 2020, making two crucial assists in five appearances for England.

“He [de Bruyne] normally knocks the ball by defenders, his final ball is obviously unbelievable. That is something that, in the season before I got six assists and I sat down with the manager and I was watching clips of Kevin De Bruyne at Villa. I said that this is what I want to do, I want my end ball to be like his and that is something I practiced on. Then, last season I ended up getting 10 assists in 25 or 26 games which is a good return. That is what I based it off, the way he plays and the way he always finds that perfect final ball,” added Grealish in the same interview.

Despite having an injury-hit season, de Bruyne finished the 2020-21 campaign with 10 goals and 18 assists in as many as 40 competitive appearances and was an important member of the Manchester City side that won the Premier League.

“I have never played alongside him, I have played against him a few times, got his shirt, but he is one that I cannot wait to play alongside,” added Grealish, who netted seven goals and 12 assists for Aston Villa last season.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa during the Carabao Cup Semi Final match between Aston Villa and Leicester City Getty Images | Visionhaus

Grealish is also looking forward to working under the management of Pep Guardiola.

"Playing under the best manager in the world was something I couldn’t really turn down. When I came here this morning I had a long chat with him about positions. It was all football.It was such a positive chat. It shows why I want to play under him. I have heard nothing but good words about him from the lads at England and I can’t wait to get started. In the end it was something I couldn’t turn down. Let’s hope it’s a successful one," the midfielder told Manchester City's official website.

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