After joining Manchester City for £64 million from Benfica last season, Ruben Dias totally changed the club's fortunes, displaying exceptional leadership and defensive nous to help Pep Guardiola's side recover the Premier League championship. The Portuguese defender rightfully won both the Premier League Player of the Season and the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year trophies at the end of the season, confirming the high praise he had earned during the season. In the summer, Dias signed a new six-year deal with City, and after being compared to Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, Jose Mourinho was left in no question about how important Dias had been for Guardiola's team.
'Ruben Dias is the finest centre defender in the world right now,' he told The Sun after being named Roma manager. However, it looks that not everyone is on board anymore. Rio Ferdinand feels Antonio Rudiger, ahead of the Portugal and Holland internationals, is the new best centre defender in the Premier League, with the German having become a key role in Thomas Tuchel's side. Rudiger battled for playing time under Frank Lampard, and his future at the club seemed uncertain as a consequence, but he has recovered since Tuchel's hiring, and the European champions are now keen to sign him to a new contract.
When the English champions visit the Champions League holders in Saturday's early kick-off, Dias and Rudiger will confront each other in an attempt to keep the ball out of their nets. But, according to the data, who would have the upper hand in their own personal battle? Manchester City lost five goals against a Jamie Vardy-inspired Leicester City in their last game.
The 24-year-old then galvanized a squad that was suffering defensively and provided the steel - infused with the more technical aspect of the game that his teammates have mastered over the years - that was required to steal the championship away from Liverpool. Guardiola's side also won their third Premier League championship in four years despite allowing only 32 goals last season, the fewest of any team.
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