Ruben Dias: Champions in focus

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In our post-season review, we continue to look back at how each player shone during yet another Premier League title success.

Taking in their season stats, highlights, and views of others, we turn next to our Portuguese defensive rock, Ruben Dias.

In his second year at the Club, here is an overview of another fantastic campaign at the heart of City’s defense…

SEASON STATS

Total appearances (all competitions): 40

Total goals: 2

Total assists: 5

Premier League appearances: 29

Total cumulative minutes (all competitions): 3,291

SEASON HIGHLIGHT

Ruben Dias knows no other way than to play with 100% commitment and passion.

Every time he goes out onto the pitch, the Portugal international is a picture of focus, concentration, and determination.

Hamstring issues meant he missed almost a third of the season in total, but his total of 40 games in all competitions shows he made a telling contribution, nonetheless.

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When your performance levels are so steady and reliable, it’s not always easy to pick out one game in particular, but a solid performance and a goal probably just edges it.

With that in mind, the 2-1 win away to Aston Villa saw our No.3 contribute hugely at both ends of the pitch.

His excellent 20-yard finish on 27 minutes put City 1-0 up at Villa Park, with compatriot Bernardo’s stunning volley doubling the lead just before the break.

The hosts were always going to rally at some stage and Ollie Watkins’ goal straight after the restart meant the second period was tricky to negate – particularly the closing moments of the game.

But Dias stood tall under some intense pressure – as all the City defenders did that evening – to ensure a 2-1 victory was secured and three points were banked.

OVERVIEW

A natural leader, Dias’ organizational skills are second to none and when a backs-to-the-wall performance is needed, you can count on him to stand tall, time and time again.

Putting his body on the line is par for the course for Ruben and any vital block he can make, he will – and did so many times in 2021/22.

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What perhaps goes unnoticed is his ability to create goals for his team-mates – a total of five assists last season for a central defender makes for impressive reading.

But, of course, it’s helping keep out goals at the other end of the pitch that is his bread and butter job.

City’s defensive crisis towards the end of the campaign almost proved costly in the Premier League title race, despite the noble efforts of veteran skipper Fernandinho who was forced to drop into central defense while Dias, John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Nathan Ake all struggled with injury.

Aymeric Laporte soldiered through to the final whistle of the campaign, despite taking heavy knocks against Wolves and West Ham, but had Dias remained fit, the final day against Aston Villa might not have been quite as tense as it was!

A restful summer and a fully recharged Ruben Dias will be an ideal start to the 2022/23 campaign for City.

WHAT THEY SAID

Former City captain Andy Morrison …

“The way he has come in and settled, and also taken that leadership role is fantastic.

“He has the qualities to carry a club the size of this one even though he is still so young. He looks as rock solid as ever.

“He is the leader. He is the captain for the next ten years.

“You need to block and tackle and be a leader. Dias wants to go and defend. He wants to challenge. He’s passionate.

“If it comes down to a 1v1 situation against any player in the league, you want Ruben Dias to be the one defending in that situation.

“He is a generational center-back. He is unique.

“I would have loved to have been able to play alongside him!

“His performances, intensity and his eyes – the focus in his eyes – he never drifts off. He’s always animated. He bosses the players.

“Let’s hope in the next ten years, especially when you get someone as special as Ruben, that we look after him.”

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