Man City and Belgium midfielder De Bruyne won the PFA Player of the Year award in the 2019-20 season
Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne will miss Saturday’s home Premier League game against Arsenal through injury.
The Belgium midfielder, 29, was substituted in his country’s Nations League match against England on Sunday.
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said the move was a “precaution”, but City boss Pep Guardiola said he is not available for the 17:30 BST kick-off.
“I don’t think it is serious, but the next games I think he will be out. We will see,” he said.
De Bruyne returned to City after leaving the Belgium squad before their game against Iceland on Wednesday.
City are 14th in the Premier League table with four points from their first three games.
“I never complain about the international break,” added former Spain midfielder Guardiola.
“I know how important it is for players. It is an honour and a privilege. Always we want the players to come back fit, with no injuries. Sometimes you can’t control it.
“I think it’s not big. I don’t know how long – it’s not like for example Gabriel [Jesus] – but a few days and I don’t know how many games he will be out.
“[He has had] no pre-season and eight days off. With his family and a newborn [baby] he cannot go on holiday. He played really good as always but at the end the boy has a limit and he gets injured.”
Brazil striker Jesus is still out after he was injured in City’s win at Wolves on 21 September.
There has been better news for Guardiola on the injury front this week, with the return of Sergio Aguero from a long-term knee injury.
The 32-year-old Argentina striker suffered the injury against Burnley on 22 June, missing City’s Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League run-in, as well as their opening fixtures this season.
“He’s been training for three or four days, he has been training well. I am happy to see him on the pitch after so long – every team needs a striker,” said Guardiola.
Guardiola is yet to make a decision on whether Aguero will feature, but Portugal internationals Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are both fit for the visit of the Gunners.
Since the new season began in September, last season’s top four have been involved in several surprising results.
Champions Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 at Aston Villa, Manchester United fell to a 6-1 home defeat by Tottenham, while Guardiola’s own side suffered a 5-2 home loss to Leicester.
And he says circumstances dictated by the coronavirus pandemic – such as a shortened pre-season and playing matches without fans – could impact the rest of the season.
“It’s weird – we cannot go to restaurants, we cannot have a social life. I don’t know what the impact of this situation [is], without spectators – for a short time it’s nice, for a long time it’s different,” Guardiola added.
“I don’t know if this is the reason why [we have] these results but maybe a little part of this must be.
“I don’t take any credit for Leicester, Villa or Tottenham, I don’t know if it will change the way they approach the games. For short times you can do it but over 11 months, I don’t know what is going to happen.
“Maybe there’ll be more contenders. Everyone can beat everyone, and it may not be what happened in the last three seasons.”