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That is according to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, who called the 29-year-old Belgian midfielder a "special player."
De Bruyne missed out on Belgium's opening Euro 2020 win over Russia as the City playmaker recovered from a fractured nose and eye socket.
However, the Belgium international has since returned and starred for his country in their remaining Group B fixtures.
De Bruyne picked up an assist and scored in Belgium's 2-1 victory over Denmark at the Parken in Copenhagen.
The former Wolfsburg player followed up his strong showing against Denmark with an assist in Belgium's 2-0 win over Finland.
Belgium topped Group B to set up a huge round-of-16 clash with 2016 Euro champions Portugal at the Estadio La Cartuja on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the Portugal clash, Martinez lauded De Bruyne's impressive skills as a playmaker ahead of Messi.
According to Marca, the 47-year-old Belgium boss insisted that he wouldn't even trade De Bruyne for Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo even if he had the chance.
When asked why he wouldn't swap De Bruyne for Ronaldo, Martinez said: "There's a very easy answer; the effect of working with Kevin closely for five years.
"I've only seen Cristiano from a distance and as a fan of football. Kevin De Bruyne, for me, is the best playmaker in world football at the moment.
"He's a special player who plays with his brain. I've never seen a player like him before."
Messi has been widely praised for his incredible playmaking ability, with the Argentine superstar managing 14 assists for Barcelona last season.
De Bruyne, on the other hand, eclipsed the 34-year-old Barcelona forward's assists last season with 18 for City.
The City midfielder was in excellent form as he scooped the PFA Players' Player of the Year award ahead of Harry Kane and Ruben Dias.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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