Ruben Dias produced a match-winning performance for Portugal in their 3-2 win against Croatia on Tuesday night, as he scored a brace to earn Fernando Santos’ side the victory.
The Manchester City man showed a striker’s instinct, much like teammate Sergio Aguero, to score his first goal for his country, as he stabbed home Ruben Semedo’s cut-back, before securing the win for Portugal by capitalising on a huge error by the Croatia goalkeeper in the dying moments.
Since joining from Benfica in the summer transfer window for a fee of £61.2 million, the 23-year-old has gone on to make five appearances for the Citizens in the Premier League, averaging a solid 6.81 rating (per WhoScored).
He has also impressed in his two Champions League appearances thus far, averaging a 6.98 rating for his performances in that competition.
Guardiola will no doubt be delighted with the centre-back’s impressive performance in the win against Croatia, as he picked up an 8.7 rating from SofaScore, which was enough to see him rated as the man-of-the-match.
His two goals from centre-back will perhaps remind some City fans for Vincent Kompany, with the Belgian having picked up a reputation during his time with the club for scoring important goals, just as Dias did on Tuesday night.
It was not just his offensive play that caught the eye, however, as he also enjoyed a pass accuracy rate of 87% and lost possession just eight times, highlighting his ability on the ball.
The centre-back was rarely bested during the game in Split, as he won 100% of his aerial duels during the game, and wasn’t dribbled past by any of the Croatia players.
So it was an all-round dominant display from the £45 million-rated man, which had shades of Kompany’s best performances in a City shirt, and Guardiola will now be hoping that the young defender can produce displays similar to that when he returns to the Manchester club following the international break.
Dias may have to be at his best in City’s next fixture, as they face a tricky trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Jose Mourinho’s side this weekend.