Men's Team

Dias wins 2021 Football Writers' Player of the Year award

Dias wins 2021 Football Writers' Player of the Year award
Ruben Dias has capped a magnificent first season at Manchester City by being named as the 2021 Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.

The centre-half topped the prestigious poll of the 400-strong FWA membership with Dias following in the illustrious footsteps of Club colleague Raheem Sterling who won the FWA award in 2019.

Dias is the first defender to win the award since Steve Nicol back in 1989 and he also becomes only the third player to win the FWA award in their first season in England, following Jurgen Klinsmann (1995) and Gianfranco Zola (1997)

The Portuguese international has made a huge impact since joining City from Benfica last September.

In the wake of his move to the Etihad, Dias has emerged as one of the lynchpins of the City squad that has regained the Premier League title, won a fourth successive Carabao Cup and secured a place in our first-ever Champions League final.

A commanding, decisive figure on the pitch, Dias has also epitomised the collective hunger and desire that has characterised Pep Guardiola’s squad in this most extraordinary of campaigns.

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And, in gratefully accepting the award, Dias was typically quick to honour the major role played by his team-mates.

“It’s a huge privilege. I’m very, very happy (but) I could not have done it without the success of the team,” Dias declared.

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“Everyone in the team deserves this award. Only by that was I – as a defender – able to be here to receive this prize.

“It means something special because normally, the ones who finish the plays are the ones getting the spotlight but me receiving this prize is a major example of our team and the way we work – the way we build our game.

“It reflects all the togetherness we have on the pitch, the spirit in the team and how we perform.

“With these players, for me to be receiving this award, it shows how we play like a family.

“(I’d like to thank) my teammates, all the staff – Pep included obviously – the Club (and the many names responsible for bringing me here) but ultimately, all of my colleagues: the staff, the physios, the kitmen, the guys in the kitchen that bring a smile every day to the training ground and make us feel good and ready to be the best we can be.

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“All of those details make a difference at the end.

“The most important thing is to have players who think like you and have the same mentality, knowing how important the team is and knowing: ‘If you fail, I will be there for you.’

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“You see it a lot in our team. if someone makes a mistake, another will be there to save you, to have your back. That mentality is definitely one of the things that makes it work so well.

“If our Premier League victory and this award means something to me, I want to give a big part of that something to them. I would like to dedicate it to them and my family as well, who are always with me.”

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From the very moment he arrived at City, Dias spoke of how winning meant everything to him as a player.

And that insatiable hunger for success, allied to a quest to constantly seek to improve, has been a hallmark of his play – and also been shared by his City team-mates.

Reflecting on that powerful characteristic, Dias credited his father with instilling in him a drive to try and get the very best out of each and every day and to always seek out the positive.

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“I think the winning mentality came from my dad. Also, the competitiveness and joy to have a brother to play with in my childhood made a huge difference because when you go to the pitch and have no-one to play with, it’s more difficult!” Dias asserted.

“That strong mentality of turning fear into power, difficulties into something good… essentially, turning a negative into a positive came from my father.

“Now, I breathe it. I breathe positivity. That’s what made me come here. That’s what made me do everything I’ve done so far. That’s the way to do it: a positive mind and energy. Look forward to everyday and look to get better every day.”

Dias and his City colleagues wrap up a magnificent domestic season with our final Premier League game at home to Everton on Sunday, when 10,000 fans will be at the Etihad to see us lift the trophy.

Ahead of the game, the defender said he was grateful for the support and backing he had already been afforded by our fans who, up until this weekend, have been forced to watch from home all season due to the COVD-19 pandemic.

“What I have as a message for them is: I’m really happy to be here. I’m really happy to be at a Club with this ambition – an ambition I consider equal to mine,” Dias added.

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“Everyone wants to win – the fans, the players, the staff… everyone is involved in the process. Everyone wants to do better, and I think I am in the right spot.

“I would like to thank them for their support and say that I hope to see them soon in a full stadium.”

And, with our Champions League final against Chelsea also looming in just nine days’ time, Dias also had the perfect answer when asked what his favourite moment in Europe’s elite club competition was.

“In the history of the Champions League…? It is yet to come!”

Everyone at the Club congratulates Ruben on his special accolade.

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