OFFICIAL: Man City’s Ruben Dias has been crowned the 2020-21 FWA Footballer
The Manchester City defender, who was signed from Benfica for £64million last summer, has established himself as arguably the top centre back in the division and helped Pep Guardiola’s side regain the title in style earlier this month.
Dias received the most votes from FWA members and beat the likes of Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, Tottenham striker Harry Kane and team-mate Kevin De Bruyne to the prestigious award.
As well as playing an integral role in their Premier League triumph, Dias also starred as City won the Carabao Cup and reached next week’s Champions League final.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding debut season in England, playing 48 times in all competitions and scoring once.
His rock solid partnership with John Stones proved key as Guardiola’s men recovered from a disappointing 2019-20 campaign to win the Premier League title, with Dias keeping 14 clean sheets in 31 appearances so far.
FWA chair Carrie Brown said: ‘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.
‘This, while commendable, would not alone qualify a player to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award. 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.
‘Pep Guardiola improves players, shapes them but at no point, has a new signing arrived into one of Pep’s already trophy-laden teams and exerted such influence.
‘Dias has demanded the highest standards which have resulted in the swiftest of upturns in fortune not solely for Dias himself, but team-mates to his left, right, front and centre.
‘Ruben Dias is our Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for his leadership on and off the pitch as much as for the infectious joy he derives from executing the art of defending to perfection.
‘I wonder if it is quite poignant that, in a time when so many find their backs against the wall, there is heart to be taken from the joy Dias exudes in standing firm and quelling the storm.
‘Perhaps, in this of all seasons, Dias is the leader we all need.’