Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are two of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet at Manchester City.
They are two of the most influential players not just at the Etihad Stadium but in the Premier League.
De Bruyne has suffered from an injury-hit campaign but his recent return will be key in helping City win the title.
As for Sterling, what a player he’s developed into. The England international has scored 21 goals in all competitions and is in the running to win the Player of the Year award.
The pair combined to score Man City’s first goal in their 3-1 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday, De Bruyne playing a perfect pass and Sterling finishing well.
- Gundogan: Liverpool are lucky to be in title race
- Sterling pranks Alexander-Arnold on FIFA
- Guardiola: 6 away wins from 26 in the CL
They both joined Man City in 2015 but initial impressions weren’t positive.
In fact, after reading reports about Sterling in the English press, De Bruyne thought Sterling would be ‘a bit of a d***head’.
De Bruyne: 'I thought Sterling would be a 'd***head'
Sterling has received a lot of bad publicity in his career - much of it unjustified - and De Bruyne has admitted that it led him to form an opinion on the former Liverpool man before meeting him.
De Bruyne wrote for The Players' Tribune: "I am a brutally honest person. So I will let you in on a little secret.
"Before I came to Manchester City, I didn’t really know what to make of this Raheem Sterling guy. I had never met him, and from what I’d read about him in the English press, I thought he was going to be a very different character.
"I didn’t think he’d be a bad guy, really. But the tabloids were always claiming that he was arrogant. So I guess I thought he’d be … what do the English call it?
"A bit of a dickhead, maybe?
"Raheem and I have this strong connection, because we arrived at City around the same time, and there was a lot of negativity about us in the press. They said I was 'the Chelsea reject.'
"They said Raheem was this flashy guy who left Liverpool for money. They said we were difficult characters.
"Of course, when you read this stuff about yourself, you think, 'Me? I’m not difficult. This is ridiculous.' These people don’t even know me! But honestly, when you read about other players, it influences the way you think. You can’t help it.
"Then I got to City and I actually met Raheem, and we’d talk a bit after training, and I thought, Wait, this guy seems really cool? What’s the story here?
"Truthfully, I don’t have many close friends — inside or outside of football. It takes me a really long time to open up to people. But over time, I got closer to Raheem, because our sons were born around the same time, so they would always play together. I really got to know Raheem, and I recognized what a smart and genuine person he is. He couldn’t be more different from what the tabloids were saying.
"This is the real truth: Raheem is one of the nicest, most humble guys I’ve met in football.
"Anyway, one day we were talking and Raheem said something like, 'Mate, I thought you were going to be well different, before I met you. I thought you were going to be really distant and shy. But you’re actually quite funny.'
"I said, 'I have a dry humor.'
"He said, 'Well dry.'
"Then he said, 'So what did you think I’d be like?'
"I said, 'Honestly? I thought you were going to be really arrogant!'
"He looked at me like, 'Mate!'
"And I looked at him like, 'What? You thought I was going to be weird!'
"It’s a great lesson, I think. In my experience, footballers can be a lot different than you expect, especially if you really get to know them."