Home EFL Cup Ruben Dias has been the signing of the summer as Manchester City excel with him in the team

Ruben Dias has been the signing of the summer as Manchester City excel with him in the team

by Football Frenzied

Manchester City have one foot in their first-ever Champions League final after a brilliant 2-1 semi-final first-leg win at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night.

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored the goals after the interval as they came from behind to win at the Parc des Princes.

It was a brilliant second-half showing of attacking flair by Pep Guardiola’s side as they imposed their swashbuckling brand of football on their French opponents.

Ruben Dias (right) was brilliant in defence for Manchester City during their 2-1 win at PSG

He's been the signing of the season and the bedrock of Pep Guardiola's (centre right) defence

He’s been the signing of the season and the bedrock of Pep Guardiola’s (centre right) defence

Dias joined from Benfica for a club-record £64.3m in - a fee that has been justified so far

Dias joined from Benfica for a club-record £64.3million – a fee that has been justified so far

However, quietly going about his business at the back was their summer signing justifying his £64.3million transfer fee: Ruben Dias.

Dias has quite simply the best acquisition made by any Premier League side this season.

Joining for a club-record fee from Benfica in September, the centre-back has been the foundation in defence that City were definitely missing last term.

‘I am a player that loves to win, a player for the team, for the fans, a player that loves this family spirit which I am feeling a lot since I have been here,’ he said upon signing a six-year deal.

‘I am an aggressive player and I love what I do. I love the game and without getting into too much detail, because it is something you will see when I start playing, the most important thing to say is I love to win and that is the thing you most need to know about me.

‘I am expecting the Premier League to be the reason why I wanted to be a football player. To have that feeling when I am on the field, when my arms get goosebumps.

‘That is it, that feeling, you cannot even put it into words. For me, the Premier League means all of that and to be able to play in the Premier League at a top club like City, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.’

The Portuguese centre-back has been a virtual ever present since joining in September

The Portuguese centre-back has been a virtual ever present since joining in September

The 23-year-old is certainly living up to his opening sentence as he looks to win a Treble during a brilliant debut season at the Etihad.

The first piece of silverware was secured on April 25 as City won the Carabao Cup final 1-0 against Tottenham.

Dias was part of the defence that kept a clean sheet as they nullified Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Co – reducing Spurs to just two shots all match and just one on target.

Just hours before City’s Wembley win, their nearest Premier League title challengers Manchester United dropped more points after being held to a goalless draw at Leeds. That result means table-toppers City sit 10 points clear of second-placed United with five games remaining.

With the Premier League all but sealed up, attention has now turned to the Champions League. So far during Europe’s elite club competition, Dias has proven his worth.

Dias won his first piece of silverware with the Carabao Cup on April 25

The defender nullified the threat of Tottenham talisman Harry Kane brilliantly during the showpiece

He won the Carabao Cup final on April 25 after nullifying the threat of Tottenham’s Harry Kane

After breezing through the group stages and the last-16 stage, City were given a true test by facing Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

The German giants boast the red-hot and in-demand Erling Braut Haaland within their ranks but Dias, and centre-back partner John Stones, kept him quiet during both legs as City won 4-2 on aggregate.

The same outcome occurred on Wednesday as Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Neymar failed to get on the scoresheet.

Such was Mbappe’s tepid display that French publication L’Equipe gave him a match-low score of 3/10 as he failed to register a single shot.

It was the first Champions League match Mbappe has started in his young career that this has happened to him – highlighting the job that Dias and Co did on the PSG star.

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland didn't get a sniff when up against Dias earlier this month

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland didn’t get a sniff when up against Dias earlier this month

Speaking post-match, former City midfielder Owen Hargreaves was gushing in his praise for the defensive side to City.

‘They made Erling Haaland who is an absolute goal machine look pretty normal, which I have not seen anybody do,’ he said. 

‘Even Mbappe and Neymar today, they had good moments in the game, but City with John Stones and Ruben Dias really had them under control.

No side has conceded fewer goals than the 24 Manchester City have let in in the Premier League this season, while they have conceded just four goals throughout the entire Champions League campaign this term.

The impact of Dias within this cannot be underestimated.

PSG's Kylian Mbappe was given a 3/10 by L'Equipe - such was the defensive job done on him

PSG’s Kylian Mbappe was given a 3/10 by L’Equipe – such was the defensive job done on him

His strike partner Neymar didn't fare much better against Dias as City kept both of them at bay

His strike partner Neymar didn’t fare much better against Dias as City kept both of them at bay

City are significantly better defensively with him in the side. In 45 games this campaign, City have conceded just 23 – meaning they conceded less than a goal-per-game (0.5). In contrast, in the nine matches without the Portuguese this term, City have conceded 10 times – an average of 1.1 goals per game.

To further underline his importance, City have a 56 per cent clean sheet with their No 3. Without him this drops to 44 per cent.

‘Ruben is a player we have admired for some time and we have been impressed with how he has progressed at Benfica,’ sporting director Txiki Begiristain said upon Dias’ arrival in September.

‘He has developed into a real leader and as a defender, he has all the attributes we are looking for. He is strong in the air, good in one-vs-one situations and technically, he is very good, so we are confident he can thrive in our system.

‘He is young but has gained valuable experience at a big European club in Benfica and we’re really pleased we’ve been able to sign him. He is another talented addition to the squad and someone who is only going to get better working under Pep.’

Fast-forward by seven months to now and those remarks are ringing true. City missed departed club legend Vincent Kompany last term. Dias is more than filling that void this campaign and, at just 23, looks set to be the cornerstone of their side in defence for many more to come.

At just 23-year-old, Dias looks set to be the cornerstone of City's defence for many more years

At just 23-year-old, Dias looks set to be the cornerstone of City’s defence for many more years

MANCHESTER CITY WITH AND WITHOUT DIAS THIS SEASON

With Dias

45

36

6

3

92

2

23

0.5

56%

80.00%

Games

Wins

Draws

Losses

Goals For

Average Goals For

Goals Against

Average Goals Against

Clean Sheets %

Win Percentage

Without Dias

9

7

0

2

23

2.6

10

1.1

44%

77.80%

Source: DailyMail

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