Ruben Dias: How the Portugal and Manchester City star developed his winning mentality




CNN

Before anyone else arrives, Ruben Dias is at Manchester City’s training ground, ready to start his day.

“The problem is, I go into the building and when I come out it’s already dark,” he jokes to CNN Sport as he drives from Manchester to join his team.

Through this dedication to football, coupled with his natural talent, Dias has cemented his reputation as one of the game’s best defenders, winning the Premier League twice with Manchester City and now featuring in the 2022 World Cup with Portugal.

“Without a doubt, it will be a special moment”, he says looking at the tournament.

“I had the opportunity to be at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. And I definitely felt a different perspective, because it’s one thing to see it from the outside, you know how great it is, but then actually living it and being there, it’s just something else.

“As a player, he’s probably the biggest [trophy] you can get It’s unfair to put into words, honestly, the feeling you must have after doing it.’

Dias was included in Portugal’s 2018 squad, but the then 21-year-old picked up an injury and did not play.

This time, he will be a key player Selection As he navigates a group that includes Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, with the aim of marking the last World Cup for his “golden generation” with flourish.

Pepe is 39, João Moutinho 36, and of course Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is 37 after losing his powers and leaving Manchester United in a turbulent club career.

“The first day I arrived [Ronaldo]actually trained with him, he had just won the Champions League,” recalled Dias.

“I still remember that day and we were doing regular training. And then you see why he was where he was. You know, the way everything is done, each thing, the detail, the dedication.’

Dias channels a similar spirit. His friend and teammate, Bernardo Silva, at City and Portugal, told CNN Sport that he is “100% like football”, always working for the team and trying to help his teammates.

“Football is everything to me,” says Dias. “It’s life. It is happiness. It deals with everything from being wonderful to being the worst thing in the world, dealing with all kinds of emotions.

“My future is being prepared, it is being prepared to have a family one day. I am becoming a better man. Like many other professions, but for me football is a great example of life, because in football you have everything”.

Despite only being 25, Dias is already building a legacy at the Etihad Stadium, proving to be a key member of Manchester City’s all-conquering squad.

Dias has won two Premier League trophies with Manchester City.

After his first season at the club in 2020/21, he won numerous individual awards – Premier League Player of the Season, Football Writer’s Player of the Year and Etihad Player of the Season – and was hailed in City’s leadership team.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s all about what’s inside you, what’s inside your head, your subconscious, because the things you do are those other things that you like to do,” he says.

But family, as well as football, is everything for Dias, he says, later trying to repeat his mother’s recipe. duck rice – Portuguese duck rice dish – with his brother.

“You can have all the success in the world alone,” he added. “But if you don’t have anyone to share it with, what’s the point?”