Ruben Dias has shown that he has the mentality and ability to potentially better Vincent Kompany’s glittering legacy at the Etihad.
Paris St Germain attackers Kylian Mbappe and Neymar wouldn’t have been blamed for dreaming of a second consecutive Champions League final, after defeating defending champions Bayern Munich in the quarters. They had after all got the better of a backline considered one of the best in the business. Their opponents in the semi-final Manchester City had been guilty of lack of composure under pressure in the past, which was music to the ears of PSG fans. However, what they failed to account for was the presence of Portuguese ‘Wonderwall’ Ruben Dias, who delivered absolutely heroic while at the same time error-free performances.
Dias stood out with his gameplay in both legs, with the display in the second leg an absolute defensive masterclass. The 24-year-old completed 100% of his tackles, maintained 90% passing accuracy, completed three clearances and made three blocks. These stats according to ESPN data indicate his impact in a do-or-die encounter. PSG failed to muster a single shot on target despite the presence of the likes of Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi.
This performance was no isolated one as evident from the official Premier League data. Dias hasn’t made a single error leading to a goal this season. The defender has ensured a tackle success percentage of 57 which is certainly praiseworthy considering the level of competition in the English league. The 24-year-old has further maintained more clean sheets (26) than goals conceded (24).
Harry Kane, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Heung Min Son, Erling Haaland and Di Maria are some of the most prominent attackers in world football. They are also among the European players who failed to score against Dias this season.
The Portuguese defender is extremely reliable when it comes to missing out on games due to injuries. Dias is now playing his sixth season in a row, where he recorded over 3,000 minutes of game time in all competitions. The 24-year-old has always been portrayed as a reliable athlete, locker room leader with the ideal personality type looked for in a player, considering his desire to maintain 10/10 in practice sessions.
The defender’s never-say-die attitude and willingness to put himself on the line of fire, for the team is also something that has been hailed by the masses. Dias is not worried about taking a couple of shots to the face or getting his jersey dirty in case of those last-ditch blocks.
Noel Gallagher dedicated a performance of Wonderwall to Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany when he announced that he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
“It’s been a pleasure to be your friend and your supporter. I wish you all the best. We’re gonna play Wonderwall for Vinny,” Gallagher told the crowd.
Such a tribute is a testament to the aura Kompany yielded in his 11 years at the club. Dias has shown this season that he has the mentality and ability to potentially better the Belgian’s glittering legacy at the Etihad. Similar performances in the upcoming campaigns by the Portuguese might well see Gallagher take to the stage again in order to pay tribute.