“I think he’s the best by a long way.”
Carragher explained that while Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has certain “physical attributes” that Dias lacks, he remains “more impressed” with the Portuguese defender.
Dias arrived at Man City last September in a €68m transfer from Benfica. The 23-year-old has played an instrumental role in bolstering City’s defence this term.
This season, Dias has helped Pep Guardiola’s team keep 26 clean sheets across all competitions. In addition, City have conceded just 22 goals when Dias has featured for them in defence.
On Tuesday, the Portugal international put in a phenomenal performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League semi-finals clash.
His efforts earned him the man of the match award as City booked their place in their first-ever Champions League final.
Ruben Dias’ vs. PSG:
100% tackles won
90% pass accuracy
MOTM performance from the 23-year-old 👏 pic.twitter.com/zj7wXE1qJQ
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 4, 2021
Jamie Carragher on Ruben Dias.
Carragher, speaking on CBS Sports, hailed Dias as a “great centre-back” following Man City’s 4-1 aggregate victory over PSG.
“I love him. I think he’s been the best player in the Premier League this season, I really do believe that,” Carragher said.
“Even when he speaks and you watch him play you can’t believe he’s 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 games and they’re always talking to people, moving people about and they’re in charge of a back-four.
“John Stones next to him is 27-28 and you feel like it’s the other way around with John Stones, and that’s no disrespect to John Stones.
“In the other semi-final you’ve got two of the greatest centre-backs of their generation hopefully playing in Thiago Silva and (Sergio) Ramos, they’re coming towards the end.
“We have seen Van Dijk over the last couple of years win the Champions League. I think the new breed is coming and this guy (Dias) is a massive part of it. 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.”
The Ruben Dias effect at Manchester City:
▪️Average a goal conceded every 2 games
▪️Won 37 Drawn 6 Lost 3 in games he’s played
▪️EFL Cup 🏆
▪️Premier League ⏳
▪️First #UCL final appearance in club’s history
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 5, 2021
“I’m more impressed with Dias.”
Carragher was then asked if Dias could reach the level of Van Dijk in his career to which the Liverpool legend replied:
“Without a doubt,” the 43-year-old said.
“I think in his first season that he has produced at Man City, I think he’s at that level. What I would say is that Van Dijk has been blessed with physical attributes that Dias hasn’t so in some ways I’m 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 probably has to concentrate more and be side on constantly.”