Paul Merson was full of praise for Ruben Dias in his Daily Star column, calling the 23-year-old ‘phenomenal’ and crediting him for having a ‘fear factor’ that stops opposition players from trying to take him on in games.
Where will Manchester City finish this season?
Merson wrote: “Ruben Dias is starting to get a reputation like Virgil van Dijk – players are scared to take him on. Wow, what a signing. He has been absolutely phenomenal and he is starting to remind me of Van Dijk now.”
Dias has formed a formidable centre-back partnership with John Stones this season and has played his part in Manchester City boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League – 15 goals conceded and 14 clean sheets (SoccerStats).
The Portuguese international joined City on a six-year deal from Benfica in September 2020 and has gone on to make 29 appearances in all competitions (Transfermarkt).
Dias has won 45 aerial duels, blocked 15 shots, made 60 clearances, conceded only 14 fouls, made 21 interceptions, has been dribbled past only four times and has made 18 tackles in 22 Premier League outings (WhoScored).
He’s one of the best defenders in the top-flight and arguably in Europe, so City make struck gold signing him. Dias is having a similar impact with the Sky Blues like Virgil Van Dijk did upon his move to Liverpool – the 29-year-old was a rock at the back and seldom beaten one-on-one.