Kevin De Bruyne is back in Manchester City first-team training after a four-month injury lay-off, but fans are split over whether that is a good thing or not.
De Bruyne is one of - if not the - best midfielders in the world, but over the last few months City fans have been denied the chance to see him tear apart Premier League defences.
The 32-year-old Belgian star suffered a serious hamstring injury during City's league opener against Burnley back in August and has not stepped foot onto the pitch since.
The issue was a more serious recurrence of an injury he suffered towards the end of last season. De Bruyne struggled with his hamstring in the weeks leading up to the Champions League final, and it finally gave way during the first half of the final in Istanbul.
Got chucked out of City training five seconds after arriving (poorly organised) but here’s De Bruyne pic.twitter.com/innX517ODj— Jack Gaughan (@Jack_Gaughan) December 18, 2023
De Bruyne appeared to recover remarkably quickly and returned to action in the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, but against Burnley it became clear that his hamstring had not properly healed.
After undergoing surgery in the hope of avoiding another relapse, De Bruyne has been included in City's squad for the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the midfielder was filmed taking part in drills with his teammates ahead of a semi-final clash with Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.
Perhaps surprisingly, given how important De Bruyne is to Pep Guardiola's side, not all City fans are happy to see their star back in training.
One pessimistic supporter tweeted: "Rushing KDB back from injury again cos [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain] and pep can’t do their jobs properly and sign the right players.
"Watch KDB snap his hamstring again In January and we finish outside top four."
Another said: "Too early to start training."
That said, plenty of Blues were excited to see their hero back in action.
"He’s almost like a winter signing for City," said one fan. "Hopefully he can be a breath of fresh air to this team." Alongside a video of De Bruyne highlights from past big games, one fan simply wrote: "Welcome back King Kev."
With City enduring a difficult end to the year, the return of De Bruyne to Guardiola's squad can only be a good thing. That said,
City's problems have been less in the goal-scoring and creative departments, and more in the defensive third of the pitch.
City fans will hope that De Bruyne has returned because he is fully recovered, not because the team needs a boost.