Ruben Dias of Manchester City, who won the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) award as the first defender since Steve Nicol in 1989, was elected England Footballer of the Year on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Portugal centerback, with nine Premier League winners receiving almost half of the total cast votes, defeated Tottenham’s Harry Kane and city teammate, Kevin De Bruyne.
Two days after Leicester City defeated the club at home 5-2, Dias joined Benfica in September for a cost of EUR 68 million ($ 82,85 million).
In the course of four seasons with manager Pep Guardiola, the leading defender changed City’s defence and developed a formidable partnership with John Stones that enabled the Club to secure its third league title, in part thanks to the best defence record.
“It’s special because generally those who end the matches (the score goals) receive the focus, but collecting this award is a representation of our squad and how we work – how we grow our game. It symbolises all our common ground, the attitude of the squad and how we perform,” remarked Dias.
For me, it demonstrates how we play as a family with these players.” For me.
The only German players to be honoured in their first seasons at a club are Jürgen Klinsmann of Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95) and the Italian Gianfranco Zola of CHLSEA (1996-97).