Football

‘Dias is the best centre-back in the world now’ – Mourinho ranks Man City star above Van Dijk and Marquinhos

The former Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham boss has been singing the praises of a fellow Portuguese

Ruben Dias is “the best centre-back in the world now”, says Jose Mourinho, with the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss ranking a Manchester City star above the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Marquinhos.

It has become difficult to argue against that assessment, with a commanding Portugal international making an immediate impact at the Etihad Stadium on the back of a big-money move from Benfica in the summer of 2020.

Dias is a Premier League title winner and FWA Footballer of the Year, with the 24-year-old now preparing to go in search of international glory alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Co at Euro 2020.

What has been said?

Mourinho has told talkSPORT of fellow countrymen that he holds in the highest regard: “I think Ruben Dias is the best centre-back in the world now, maybe.

“I would say that Ruben with this step to the Premier League is getting a different knowledge and experience of competitiveness.

“I think he’s a fantastic centre-back. Lots of fantastic players in attack, Cristiano is not a kid anymore. 

“I believe it is his last Euros and after being European Champion, he will try everything to succeed for the last time.”

The bigger picture

Fernando Santos

Portugal are the current holders of a European Championship crown, having prevailed back in 2016, and will open the defence of that title when facing Hungary on Tuesday.

Mourinho expects a star-studded squad to be among the leading contenders once again, with Fernando Santos the right man to guide them towards further glory.

He added: “The manager Fernando is the right guy for the right place.

“The transition keeping Cristiano, Pepe, Rui Patricio, keeping (Joao) Moutinho and that structure of experienced boys, I think he’s the right guy in the right place.

“Very stable and knows the players very well. He knows what he wants and it’s such a group that if you told me Portugal would go out at the group stage, I wouldn’t be surprised as we play France in France, Germany in Germany and Hungary in Hungary.

“For Portugal, it’s such an incredible situation in the group stage. If you go through it again, we are a team capable of going to the end.”

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