Breaking a 32-year winless streak for Premier League defenders, Ruben Dias is 2021’s FWA Footballer of the Year.
The Portugal international moved to the Etihad Stadium in September 2020 for £62 million ($87m).
His commanding presence has been a revelation for the Citizens ever since.
He has, across 48 appearances in all competitions, helped Pep Guardiola’s defence become tighter.
This defensive skill carried City to the Premier League title, another Carabao Cup triumph and the Champions League final.
Even Pep is all praise for the player, particularly calling his ability incredible after he recovered from a January injury.
Ruben Dias Is 2021’s FWA Footballer of the Year
The Football Writers’ Association – FWA – have delightedly declared that they’ve voted Ruben Dias as Footballer of the Year 2021.
Defender Dias beat his City team-mate, Kevin De Bruyne, and Tottenham’s Harry Kane by far for the award, say FWA.
The Manchester City centre-half has become the first defender to land this prize since ex-Liverpool star Steve Nicol in 1989.
And Dias said of the honour: “It’s a huge privilege. I’m very, very happy.”
“Obviously, I could not have done it without the success of the team,” he said, in gratitude of his new team.
“I think me receiving this prize is the major example of our team, of how our team works the way, the way we build our game,” he went on about City.
“I think it reflects all the togetherness, we have in the pitch, and essentially that – how we perform and the spirit that is in the team and with this team, with these players.”
“For me to be receiving this award, I think it means just that, how we play like a family,” he finished humbly.
FWA chair Carrie Brown also discussed the winner they have voted this year.
“Ruben Dias turned heads soon after his arrival in Manchester, a 23-year-old belying his age with fortitude, steel, a relentless drive for perfection and an almost superhuman ability to read and anticipate phases of play,” Brown said.
“This, while commendable, would not alone qualify a player to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award,” Brown added, however. “One of our founding members, Charles Buchan, prescribed the award to recognise and celebrate a player who ‘by precept and example’ is considered to be the footballer of the year.”