Manchester City’s Ruben Dias has become the first defender to win the FWA men’s Footballer of the Year in 32 years after his impressive debut season with the Cityzens. The Portuguese defender signed for the club last summer from Benfica and has played a key role in their title challenge.
While many expected Harry Kane, especially after the Tottenham man’s phenomenal campaign, to win every individual award possible, that hasn’t been the case. The Spurs man may be on track to lift both the Golden Boot and the Playmaker of the Year award but the Golden Glove and a few others might be beyond his reach. However, Kane has also now lost out on the FWA men’s Footballer of the Year with Ruben Dias topping the prestigious poll as confirmed by the FWA earlier today.
The defender becomes only the third player to win it in his debut season and the first defender in over 32 years since Steve Nicol won it while playing for Liverpool in 1989. The win has not come as a shock to many especially given Dias’ performances as a defensive rock for City during their title-winning 2020/21 season. The former Benfica captain, however, thanked his teammates and everyone behind the scenes for their support and everything they’ve done this season.
“It’s a huge privilege. I’m very, very happy (but) I could not have done it without the success of the team Everyone in the team deserves this award. Only by that was I – as a defender – able to be here to receive this prize. It means something special because normally, the ones who finish the plays are the ones getting the spotlight but me receiving this prize is a major example of our team and the way we work – the way we build our game,” Dias told Mancity.com.
“It reflects all the togetherness we have on the pitch, the spirit in the team and how we perform. With these players, for me to be receiving this award, it shows how we play like a family. (I’d like to thank) my teammates, all the staff – Pep included obviously – the Club (and the many names responsible for bringing me here) but ultimately, all of my colleagues: the staff, the physios, the kitmen, the guys in the kitchen that bring a smile every day to the training ground and make us feel good and ready to be the best we can be.”
Dias is the first defender to win the award since Steve Nicol back in 1989 and he also becomes only the third player to win the FWA award in their first season in England, following Jurgen Klinsmann (1995) and Gianfranco Zola (1997) ⭐️— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 20, 2021
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Ruben Dias finished well clear of Harry Kane second and Kevin De Bruyne third. "Overall nine City players received votes which accounted for over 50 per cent of the total votes cast," @theofficialfwa #mcfc #FOTY21— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 20, 2021