Jose Mourinho has labelled Manchester City’s Ruben Dias as the “best centre-back in the world” after admitting Spurs tried and failed to sign the Premier League champion, speaking to talkSPORT.
It took Pep Guardiola’s Portuguese powerhouse just nine months to do what Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Tony Adams and Virgil van Dijk failed to do.
And it speaks volumes about the way Dias adapted to life in England that nobody questioned the wisdom behind making him the first centre-half to win the FWA Player Of The Year award since Steve Nicol in 1989.
Dias was the rock at the heart of Manchester City’s latest title charge, making a mockery of Daniel Levy’s reluctance to bring the former Benfica captain to Tottenham Hotspur in summer 2020.
Would Mourinho still be in a job at Tottenham if his granite-carved compatriot had moved to London rather than Manchester?
A penny for Jose’s thoughts, then, if Dias leads Portugal to a second successive European Championship crown…
Spurs tried to sign Portugal’s Euro 2020 star Dias
“I think Ruben Dias is the best centre-back in the world now,” says Mourinho, who will take over at Italian giants Roma after the tournament.
“I would say Ruben, with this step to the Premier League, is getting a different knowledge and experience of competitiveness.
“I think he’s a fantastic centre-back.”
Dias, of course, wasn’t the only title-winning centre-back to slip through Tottenham’s fingers last year.
And, while Spurs were enduring their worst domestic season since 2008/09, Skriniar was emerging as a key figure in a Nerazzurri side that brought an overdue end to a decade-long trophy drought.
He also scored the winner in Slovakia’s Euro 2020 victory over Poland on Monday night.