Kevin De Bruyne says he is still feeling the after-effects of Covid-19, even after scoring twice for Manchester City in their Premier League thrashing of Leeds United on Tuesday.
De Bruyne says he is not yet back to his best after testing positive for the coronavirus last month.
"I'm not great yet. My body still has to adapt. Sometimes after two or three sprints I feel that I have had Covid," he told Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws on Thursday.
But he feels things are picking up after a season in which he has also struggled with a nagging ankle injury.
"It's getting better. This season is what it is, of course. I can't help it. I got punched in the face, my ankle kicked and I caught Covid. It's not easy with the busy schedule but I'm feeling okay. I'm doing what I have to do."
De Bruyne suffered a double facial fracture in last season's Champions League final and then hurt his ankle at the European Championship.
He returned a positive Covid-19 test after Belgium's World Cup qualifier with Wales last month, where he also scored.
"I was really sick for four days. I think it's similar to the flu but I've never had it that bad. I had a fever, especially at night, and I lost my sense of smell and taste. After five days it got better. Smell and taste came back a little later, but now everything is okay," he said.
"I was on my own for 10 days in quarantine, so I was walking up the walls. It's hard for me to sit still. I separated myself from my family. I didn't want to pass it onto my wife and kids. It was pretty hard to just see them through a glass door."
The 30-year-old said he was now fighting for regular playing time at City but competition was stiff.
"It's always been that way. Our team is great, but I'm a competitive animal. I know I'll have to miss a few games, and that's never fun. Everyone wants to play every second, but I'm staying positive. All I can do is perform," De Bruyne added.