Since Christmas alone, City had missed four consecutive penalties prior to kick-off in Madrid, all by different players – Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Sergio Aguero.
De Bruyne insists that he would never criticise a teammate for missing from the spot as stepping up to take a penalty is claiming responsibility.
Despite rarely taking penalties in his career to date, De Bruyne told Belgian outlet HLN at full-time: “I didn’t hesitate. Everyone takes their responsibility, everyone can miss. There is of course a lot of pressure because this is the biggest stage.
“Sometimes you miss, sometimes you score, but it’s great that we scored that goal.”
At age 28 and considered one of the best attacking players in the world, it is perhaps surprising that it was only his fourth penalty, only his second for City and his first in nearly four years.
De Bruyne scored twice for Belgium from 12 yards in 2014, one in a friendly against Luxembourg and one in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Andorra. Prior to this week, he had last been on penalty duty in October 2016 when an effort against Everton was saved.
In Madrid, De Bruyne was facing international colleague Thibaut Courtois, with whom he has actually practiced penalties before in Belgium training.
“We occasionally train on penalties,” Courtois told HLN.
“Kevin has a great kicking technique. Left, right or in the middle, you never know where he will kick the ball. I went for the left because he has one that in the past. But the shot was hard and near the post. Even if I had been in the right corner, that ball was almost impossible to reach.”