Jamie Carragher told CBS Sports on Paramount+ (04/05/21 at 10:25 pm) that Ruben Dias is now ‘at the level’ of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk after Manchester City reached the Champions League final on Tuesday.
In Van Dijk’s first six months at the club, he guided Liverpool to a Champions League final, only to be beaten by Real Madrid, but in his first full season, they were dancing in the streets of the team that knocked them out the year before as they became European champions for the sixth time.
As for Dias, the £65 million Manchester City defender (Sky Sports) might just walk the same road as Liverpool’s faultless Dutchman in helping his team become champions of Europe.
Last night, Dias produced a Man of the Match display as Pep Guardiola’s men breezed past their fellow oil-rich rivals in PSG to book their trip to Istanbul.
And Carragher lauded the performance of Dias, who he thinks is now part of a ‘new breed’ of top-quality centre-backs, alongside Liverpool’s very own.
“I love him,” said Carragher. “I think he has been the best player in the Premier League this season. I think he has had a huge effect on Manchester City.
“Even when he speaks and you watch him play. You cannot believe he is 23 – when you are a centre-back, and a great centre-back and he is a great centre-back, the great ones just don’t play their own game. They almost play other people’s game.
“You have got two of the greatest centre-backs of their generation, hopefully playing (Chelsea v Real Madrid) in Thiago Silva and Ramos. They’re coming towards the end if you like. We have seen Van Dijk over the last couple of years win the Champions League. I think the new breed is coming.
“The biggest thing for a centre-back, in terms of body position, I think he’s the best, by a long way, in the Premier League.
On comparing him to Van Dijk & whether he can get to his level: “Without a doubt,” responded Carragher. “I think in his first season he has produced at Man City. I think he’s at that level. I don’t think he’s blessed with the physical attributes of Van Dijk. So, in some ways, I am more impressed with Dias.
“When you watch Van Dijk, it’s like watching a Rolls-Royce, you just think the way he moves. Most players don’t have that. And Dias probably hasn’t got that. So, he has probably has to concentrate more and be side on constantly.”
Dias’ impact on this Man City team has been remarkable and with the Premier League title in the bag, added with the League Cup, those comparisons with Van Dijk can be made.
Of course, debates will rage as to who is better but both have had an enormous impact on their respective clubs, but it needs to be remembered that the European trophy isn’t in Man City’s hands yet.
Real Madrid and Chelsea will lock horns in London tonight and if Thomas Tuchel can help his team progress then, just like Liverpool’s Champions League triumph back in Madrid, it will be an all-English final once more.