Manchester City defender Ruben Dias has today scooped the FWA’s Player of the Year award to cap off a truly stunning debut season at the Etihad Stadium.
The 23-year-old beat the likes of Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne to the gong, and he will hope to also soon collect the PFA Player of the Year award – really, it shouldn’t be in doubt.
It cannot be overstated just how good a season Dias has had.
The man has come in from Benfica, walked into the heart of the defence following that 5-2 defeat to Leicester City and completely changed the game for the Citizens ever since.
Last term City were all at sea at the back following the departure of Vincent Kompany in the summer of 2019.
With Pep Guardiola not really having the trust of John Stones or Nicolas Otamendi, midfielder Fernandinho did the best he could filling in next to Aymeric Laporte.
But it was crystal clear the void left by Kompany was making life extremely difficult.
That void seems like a long time ago now, with the imperious Dias essentially assuming the role of the Belgian enforcer before him, just minus the armband.
The impact he has had on those around him has been nothing short of seismic.
Stones is obviously the most notable beneficiary, but the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rodri have also looked far more comfortable.
It’s almost as if Dias sets the bar so high, his own teammates are fighting to replicate those performances levels, yearning for his respect and admiration.
De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez have all had outstanding seasons in 2020/21.
But, arguably, none of these players could have flourished in the way they have done without Dias coming in providing the stability and security he has.
The confidence that comes from knowing there’s such a high-caliber defensive leader behind must be absolutely invaluable for those superstar attackers.
Quite simply, Dias is one of the most influential signings City have made in years, and already has all the hallmarks of one day becoming a club legend.