Ruben Diaz’s heroism against PSG embodies his exceptional season

It is fair to say that several eyebrows were raised this summer when Manchester City announced the signing of Ruben Diaz for about 60 million pounds.

For a central defender who hadn’t actually established himself on any big stage, it seemed like another misjudged defensive purchase.

However, when we came to the conclusion of the Portuguese’s first campaign in Manchester, this feeling of surprise and intrigue was firmly replaced by admiration and applause.

Diaz had a season that very few will forget. He immediately established himself as a starter and has since provided confidence, commitment and composure. His constant performances throughout the campaign were embodied by a heroic show on Tuesday night, as the club recorded one of its most famous victories on the European stage – beating the very fantastic PSG with 2: 0 (4: 1 in total) to seal a place in the Champions League final for the first time.

The show, of course, was stolen by the winner of the match, Riyad Mahrez, whose brace will remain in the memory for a long time. But it was Diaz’s defensive determination, in particular, that inspired the people of City for such a team victory and proved just how ready they are for European glory.

In a game in which the Parisians threw almost everything they could to their opponents, it was City’s back line that caught the kitchen sink and dumped it in a safe place after a while. They were concerned, thanks in large part to Diaz’s remarkable leadership.

Only 23 years old (May 24 to 14), the Portuguese became a leading voice in the country of Pep Guardiola.

Together with Fernandinho – who was celebrating his 36th birthday at night – Diaz played a crucial role in the unperturbed performance of City. He was the voice, the organizer and the level of the back of the head, which allowed the City’s defense to maintain composure and remain compact at all times.

Undoubtedly, the work was facilitated by the absence of Kylian Mbappe, but PSG still had threats. In fact, Diaz has been forced to put his body on the line many times, sometimes taking us back in time with his heroic defense. Even when Ander Herrera’s powerful cross hit him in the head from just two meters in the first half, the city man jumped back and refused to congratulate his colleagues instead of issuing positional orders for the resulting corner.

Diaz was responsible for three of his country’s nine blocks throughout the match, which prevented Ederson from making even one save. He spectacularly denied Herrera the watch brand once more, flying in the air to deflect the Spaniard’s sweetly beaten will, and apparently stood up as if nothing had happened.

The only partner, John Stones, dealt with Diaz’s four permits, which helped avoid the attacks that their opponents imposed. The two were everywhere to deny people like Neymar and Angel Di Maria.

Ruben Diaz and John Stones kept 16 clean sheets in the 24 games they started together | PAUL ELIS / Getty images

The night will undoubtedly be remembered for preparing Mahrez to send City to Istanbul, but it was Diaz’s determined character and uncompromising determination that prompted his teammates to see a defensive master class.

Of course, this is a joint effort at the heart of the defense, and Stones also deserves mountains of praise, but Diaz’s heroic stoic performance only embodies how excellent he has been throughout the season.

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