MANCHESTER — Kevin De Bruyne should be in contention for the Ballon d’Or if he brings success to Manchester City, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

The award, for the world’s best player, has been shared between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the past decade.

But Belgium international De Bruyne has been in brilliant form this season, contributing a hat trick of assists in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Leicester City.

Guardiola, asked whether he was a serious contender for the award, said: “No doubt.

“He is not one game. It’s the whole season, every three days, playing that way every three games.

“He knows, and everyone knows, to be there you have to win titles and titles and titles. The way he played, it’s difficult to find [a better] one in Europe.”

De Bruyne said it would be “beautiful” to win an individual prize but stressed that he was more interested in winning trophies with City.

He is among the frontrunners to be named Premier League player of the season after helping City to a huge lead at the top of the table.

“I do everything to win titles with the team. What happens after is an extra,” he told reporters.

“I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way.

“It makes it easier for me, it makes it easier for them. At the end, if you get an individual honour it is beautiful.

“To be fair, when I am busy playing football I don’t care. I am doing what I have to do. It is something you reflect on after you get something like that. I am not busy with that before.”

Teammate Sergio Aguero scored four second-half goals against Leicester, including a thunderous injury-time strike.

It was his third hat trick of the season and leaves him level with Liverpool’s Mo Salah on 21 goals and two behind Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the race to be the Premier League’s top scorer.

“I have already seen the game against Newcastle [last season] when he scored five goals in like 20 minutes,” De Bruyne added. “If he is on it, he is probably the best, for me.

“The record he has — he has scored four or five years in a row 20 goals in the Premier League — there is nothing more you can say.”