Manchester City defender Ruben Dias was announced by the Football Writer’s Association as the FWA Footballer of the year Award for 2020/21 season with just 48 appearances.
He has been recognized for his brilliant debut season after joining City for £60m just two games into the season to pair John Stones at City’s shaky defence line.
The pair helped Guardiola’s men on their incredible winning run from December to March, with the Citizens boasting the best defensive record in the Premier League winning both the EPL and Carabao Cup.
Dias’ immediate impact on the City defence has been compared to Virgil van Dijk’s performances at Liverpool, and his form has now been recognised after winning his first individual award for City.
Last year, Jordan Henderson was the winner of the Football Writer’s Association (FWA footballer of the year) award for his brilliant performances as Liverpool won the title, along with his leadership off the field during the first lockdown.
Raheem Sterling was the winner in 2019, ending a 50-year wait for a City player to be awarded the FWA accolade.
Dias break the jinx, winning the FWA Footballer of the Year
Dias also becomes the first defender since Steve Nicol in 1989 to win the award, and third player to win it in his first season at a club. The centre-back was a comfortable winner ahead of teammate Kevin De Bruyne and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
According to the FWA, nine City players received votes in total accumulating to over 50 per cent of the total votes of 700 members.
“It’s a huge privilege. I’m very, very happy. It’s the same as always: obviously, I could not have done it without the success of the team – everyone in the team being able to deserve this award.
“With these players, for me to be receiving this award, it shows how we play like a family.”
FWA chair Carrie Brown said: “Ruben Dias turned heads soon after his arrival in Manchester, a 23- year-old with courage, steel, a persistent 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.
“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.
“Perhaps, in this of all seasons, Dias is the leader we all need.”
Ruben Dias is also voted by fellow professionals as favorites to win the PFA Player of the Year award as he faces competition with fellow Portuguese teammate Bruno Fernandes.