Mourinho is right - Ruben Dias is the best defender in the world

Martin Macdonald
Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias

It takes a hell of a player to transform a team but that is exactly what Ruben Dias achieved this season following his move to Manchester City from Benfica.

After surrendering the Premier League to Liverpool in 2019/20, Man City took their crown back in 2020/21 and also reached the final of the Champions League.

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Pep Guardiola’s sides have always been noted for their forward play, but this season he has put together one of the best defences in Europe, mostly due to the presence of Dias.

Big money was spent on the likes of Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, and although the Englishman has now come good, he was written off by many before his exploits this season.

Part of the reason for Stones’ resurgence is the fact he has been beside the best defender in the world this season in Dias.

Signed for £61.64 million from Benfica, the Portuguese defender has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and on Saturday was named the Premier League Player of the Season.

He made 32 appearances in the Premier League and helped City to 14 clean sheets.

The 24-year-old has had a miraculous impact on the Man City team, so much so that they have eventually won back the Premier League from Liverpool after no real competitors matched their results after Christmas.

Newly-appointed Roma boss Jose Mourinho, who has managed three clubs in the Premier League and certainly knows a good defender when he sees one, believes Dias can now be considered the best in the world in his position.

"Ruben Dias is the best centre back in the world now,’ he told The Sun.

"With his move to the Premier League with Manchester City, he is getting a different level of knowledge."

Mourinho is right, Dias is the best in the world at the moment.

Virgil van Dijk may have something to say about that, but the Dutchman has, after all, missed the whole season due to injury.

When both players are fit and firing in the Premier League, it will be intriguing to see who can continue having the more positive impact.

Sergio Ramos has held the mantle, too, but as of now he won't even have a club this summer. His regression at 35-years-old, plus injuries suffered this season, left him without a place in the Spain squad for the Euros.

Ruben Dias in 2020/21

This past campaign Dias averaged 0.4 tackles per match, 3.5 duels won per match and 3.0 aerial duels per match.

His reading of the game as magnificent, as displayed by his 4.3 ball recoveries and 1.1 interceptions per game, too.

As you would expect from a Guardiola player, though, his best talent is arguably in his distribution as he touched the ball 93.8 per game on average, while his pass completion was an impressive 93%.

His impact on the others beside him really cannot be ignored either.

Stones looked like he was a certainly to be third-choice centre-back this season, but Dias has given him the belief to play his own game and relax knowing his partner os beside him.

Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, too, have been infinitely better since Dias' arrival at the Etihad.

The players in forward areas will always grab most of the headlines, but there is no denying who Man City's main man this season has been.