Kevin De Bruyne has told Thierry Henry he is gunning for his Premier League assists record.
The Manchester City midfielder had laid on a remarkable 16 goals in England's top flight this season before the campaign was placed on hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak last month.
The Belgium international reached 18 during the 2016-17 season and, in an interview with The Athletic's Ornstein & Chapman podcast, joked he was irked not to be on 17 already this time around – referencing Raheem Sterling's goal in a 3-0 December win at Arsenal that came courtesy of his slightly deflected cross.
Henry racked up an astonishing 20 assists for Arsenal in the 2002-03 campaign and De Bruyne worked closely with the France great when he served as an assistant to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.
"To be honest, I feel Like I'm on 17 – I know they took one away from me at Arsenal," The City star chuckled.
"I don't know why they did it, I still don't understand it.
"I always joked with Henry in the national team, even at Vincent Kompany's testimonial this year. I saw him and said 'I'm coming for you this year'.
"To have 16 assists is really nice and speaks really well for a creative player. But if it doesn't happen we still go on.
"When you get something [a record] it fills you with pride because I had it in Germany and it's nice to see you broke some records."
The Athletic named De Bruyne as its Men's Player of the Year, with the 28-year-old prevailing despite Liverpool quartet Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane appearing on the shortlist.
It has been a different story for City players where the Professional Footballers' Association is concerned.
In each of the club's four title-winning campaigns in the previous eight seasons, no player from the Etihad Stadium has taken the top award, while Liverpool players – Luis Suarez, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk have prevailed in the most recent three of those.
"I don't think a lot of people [at City] feel under-appreciated, to be honest," De Bruyne said.
"There's been chances, obviously, when some of us could have won the award but you don't know what the voters are thinking about football
"Two years ago I could have won it but I understand why Mo Salah won it also.
"Maybe this year is a chance for me to win, I don't know. I think I've got a nice chance but there are some other players who have had great seasons.
"I'm not really occupied about why or why not. Everyone has a different view. That's the nice thing about football, nobody thinks the same way and there are different playing styles and views."