Manchester City's Dias named Premier League Player of the Season

Reuters , Saturday 5 Jun 2021

Manchester City's Ruben Dias, left, and Manchester City's goalkeeper Ederson watch the ball as Chelsea's Christian Pulisic, center, misses a chance during the Champions League final soccer match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Dragao Stadium in Porto, Portugal, Saturday, May 29, 2021. AP

Manchester City defender Ruben Dias was named the English Premier League Player of the Season on Saturday (June 5) following a vote, becoming only the second Portuguese player to receive the honour.

The 24-year-old centre-back had been picked as England's Footballer of the Year in the annual vote of the Football Writers' Association last month following a superb debut campaign after his move from Benfica last year.

City boss Pep Guardiola was named Manager of the Season for a third time.

Dias, who played a key role in delivering City's third Premier League title in four years as well as the League Cup, also helped them reach the Champions League final, which they lost to Chelsea.

He is the fourth defender to be voted Player of the Season by the public, the captains of the 20 Premier League clubs and a panel of experts, after Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic, former City captain Vincent Kompany and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.

Other nominees for the award included City's Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, Tottenham's Harry Kane, Chelsea's Mason Mount, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and West Ham's Tomas Soucek.

Dias' compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo won the Premier League Player of the Season award for United in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Guardiola won the manager’s award in 2017-18 and again in 2018-19 when he led City to consecutive league titles.

Under the Spaniard, City conceded the fewest goals (32) this season and kept clean sheets in half of their games (19) to finish 12 points clear of second-placed United.

Guardiola won the award ahead of fellow nominees Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds), David Moyes (West Ham), Brendan Rodgers (Leicester) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (United).

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