Ruben Dias delivered a defensive masterclass against Paris Saint-Germain to demonstrate why he is widely considered the finest young defender in world soccer.
A mesmerising compilation reveals Dias shutting down Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and co. with absolutely manicured tackles plus a few superb interceptions. The centre-back also started several City strikes with his fluid departure.
The Portuguese defender’s composure on the ball is no surprise for a player in a Pep Guardiola backline. But Dias was also a rock without the the ball, snuffing out PSG attacks.
“So, so good,” one football fan marvelled on Twitter. “How did he got so high up the pitch and tackling Neymar like that?”
Another City fan replied to the compilation: “I usually don’t rate players on a single-season performance, but with him I can safely say, he’s up there with the best of defenders.”
Dias has barely put a foot wrong since his £51 million move from Benfica to City in September, as he’s instantly improved his side’s defence. But his performance in Paris might have been his best yet.
Rúben Dias’ game by numbers vs. PSG:
95% pass accuracy
69 total touches
5 tackles attempted
3 tackles won
Another dominant display. 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/3WyJWaqx1R
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 28, 2021
City needed to deal with a scintillating start in the side as they graduated out of a Marquinhos header and may have added more if Dias and his teammates had not held PSG in bay.
Nevertheless it was a different game in the second half since Kevin de Bruyne’s cross found the back of the internet, then Riyad Mahrez made it 2-1, until Idrissa Gueye was revealed a late red card for a horrible struggle on Ilkay Gundogan.
Advantage City moving into the second leg in Manchester. And when Dias plays with the way he did in Paris at the semi-final next legNeymar and Mbappe have their work cut out trying to acquire the aims PSG require.