Ruben Dias has enjoyed a remarkable debut season in the Premier League, establishing himself as one of the best defenders on the planet as Manchester City secured their third Premier League title in four seasons.
Quickly integrating himself into Pep Guardiola’s side, the former Benfica stalwart helped create a formidable partnership with John Stones, in turn helping Stones re-enter the discussion surrounding best defenders in the Premier League after it had appeared his Manchester City career was on the decline. When playing alongside each other, the pair conceded just 32 goals all season.
When asked to reflect on his award, Dias said: “It’s a huge privilege, I’m very, very happy. I could not have done it without the success of the team, without everyone in the team deserving this award. Only by that, as a defender, am I able to be here to receive this prize.
“Essentially, when I came, I wanted to meet everyone as fast as possible, understand how the team plays. I knew the manager and the players; I knew a bit about the philosophy of the club because I am fan of football and I know City from the last few years.
“I had an idea of what I was coming to and I wanted to integrate myself as fast as possible.”
It is no coincidence that of the last two Premier League title winning sides, arguably, their best player was found in the centre of defence.
Virgil van Dijk was crucial in Liverpool ending their three-decade wait for a league title, but his absence from the side has potentially proved how important he is more than any one performance could do.