Interview

Rúben Dias: man mountain

Following his commanding displays against Paris, one of the first names on the Manchester City team sheet for the final will be a certain Portuguese centre-back

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Rúben Dias: man mountain
Interview

Rúben Dias: man mountain

Following his commanding displays against Paris, one of the first names on the Manchester City team sheet for the final will be a certain Portuguese centre-back

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Manchester City searched long and hard for a defensive leader after the departure of talisman Vincent Kompany – and it looks like they might have found one. Rúben Dias was a colossus in both legs of the semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain (some of his blocks at the City of Manchester Stadium, in particular, were breathtaking) and will head to his native Portugal hoping for a similar performance in the final. Here the 24-year-old chats about his mindset as a defender and the special talent within the Manchester City squad.

Do you like being a defender? Have you always wanted to be one?

I’d just started school and a classmate said, “The club where I play, Estrela da Amadora, is asking if there are people interested in wanting to play.” I went to the club and I was confident that I was going to be a striker; I started my first proper game there but my team was struggling, I think we conceded two early goals. At that moment my instincts kicked in and even though I was playing as a striker, I went in defence. Even since my very first game, I’ve never been able to bear watching my team suffer. I think I have always stood out because of this quality of wanting to help the players next to me, of wanting to make them better players.  

So it was meant to be?

One of the coaches spoke to my father and said, “This kid is a central defender, there’s no way around it. He is and will continue to be a central defender in the future.” And that’s where we are today.

When you’re watching a match that doesn’t involve your team, how do you analyse it?

Since an early age, my father has always encouraged me to not watch the game as a spectacle, but as study material to learn from. This advice has helped me a lot, especially ahead of my move to the Premier League. Many people have asked, “How did you adapt so quickly?” and I tell them that even though I’ve not played in the Premier League before, I’ve been watching it for a long time. I knew a lot of the players and I knew the level of competitiveness that the league has; I was already well aware that it would be quicker.

Talking of speed, what have you made of Phil Foden’s performances this season?

He’s a player with a lot of quality. As with every player, he had his journey in establishing himself: sometimes he played a lot, other times he played less. And when I saw him play for the first time in training, I got to know him as a person and as a player. I also got to understand a little bit more how he can do what he does, because he’s prepared for everything, whatever challenge he is faced with. He knows what he is capable of and he knows what he wants to do: he wants to win and he’s very ambitious. Combining all that talent he has with the right mentality will lead him closer to success.

At the other end of the pitch, what goes through your head when you concede?

Obviously, it’s never easy. I used to go crazy but I’ve learned a lot, especially since I started in the Benfica first team. I remember a game where Luisão spoke to me after we conceded and saw that I was upset. He said, “Kid, we conceded a goal. It’s your fault, it’s my fault, it’s the left-back’s fault, it’s the right-back’s fault, it’s the goalkeeper’s fault – it doesn’t matter. We move on because there is a game to play.’ It made a big impression on me at the time and I try to follow that mindset. For example, when we conceded a goal to Borussia Dortmund [in the quarter-final second leg], all of these elements helped the team to stay calm and focused on what they had to do.

A striker celebrates when he scores – how does a successful tackle make you feel?

Whenever you have the opportunity to make an important tackle, to do something in defence, be it individual or for the team, it’s an action that can lead to the other team feeling like, “There’s no way through, we’ve got no chance.” Sometimes all that momentum is almost like a goal, especially when the moment demands it: you’re up 1-0 and you can’t concede. A winning team is made of those moments.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

To access this article, as well as all CJ+ content and competitions, you will need a subscription to Champions Journal.
Already a subscriber? Sign in
close
Special Offers
christmas offer
Christmas CHEER
Up to 40% off
Start shopping
50% off
game night flash sale!!!
Don't miss out
00
Hours
:
00
minutes
:
00
Seconds
Valid on selected products only. subscriptions not included
close