Eyebrows were raised when Leicester signed Ricardo Pereira in 2018. Whilst at Porto, the right-back was one of the best emerging talents in Europe, and therefore, it was quite the coup that the Foxes were able to bring him to the King Power.
The Portugal international has had a stellar first season in England and has cemented himself as one of the first names on the Leicester teamsheet, displaying remarkable consistency right the way through the season.
Where players dropped off under Claude Puel, he still looked impressive and now under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, he’s improved even more.
His performance against Manchester City last Monday night displayed the typical characteristics we’ve become accustomed to from Pereira, proving a danger in the final third with willing runs down the right.
He’s been exceptional going forward and his six assists across the current term tells you all you need to know.
However, it was his defensive game that stood out the most against City. He was tasked with keeping one of the best players in the division in Raheem Sterling quiet and he did it superbly well.
City looked out of ideas for large parts of the game and the performance of Pereira was a large factor in that.
Throughout the match, he displayed a completely new characteristic though. The Portuguese defender isn’t familiar for his prowess in the air, winning on average 1.9 aerial duels per game. To win six against City was, therefore, phenomenal.
The sheer number of clearances he also got his boot on showed just how resolute the Leicester side were.
And had it not been for a thunderbolt from Vincent Kompany, Pereira may well have been staring at a clean sheet.
Given his prowess in attack, to now know he can perform this well defensively against the best side in the country could be game-changing ahead of next season.