Ruben Dias is keen to distance himself from comparisons to Manchester City icon Vincent Kompany, though has revealed the Premier League defenders he studied as young player.
Dias signed for Manchester City in a £62m club-record deal from Benfica last summer and has emerged as arguably the signing of the season, the centre-back having had a transformative impact on the defensive record of the current league leaders.
After struggling defensively last season, Pep Guardiola’s side have conceded just 17 goals from 27 fixtures this term to open up a 15-point advantage over nearest challengers Manchester United at the summit.
Dias has played a prominent role in that record to emerge as one of the favourites for the Player of the Season accolades and, ahead of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Wolves at the Etihad, the defender discussed his Premier League role models with Rio Ferdinand.
“When I was a kid watching the Premier League was my dream weekend, I’ve watched many games with you, Vidic, Kompany, John Terry, an infinite list,” he told BT Sport.
“From there you start learning and I learnt a lot from what I hear and what I see and just by watching I started to understand the league and the way you play.
“The thing that makes the big difference is how competitive it is.
“Here you get the challenge every game and I think that’s what makes the league different and if you’re successful it’s because you can solve it many times.”
Dias has been hailed as the long-term replacement for former club captain Vincent Kompany, with City having struggled defensively last season following the departure of the four-time Premier League winner.
The Portugal international is aware of the comparisons with Kompany but is keen to distance himself from those suggestions given the wealth of success the Belgian enjoyed at the Etihad.
“Lots of people are comparing me to Vincent, ‘can I be the replacement?’.
“I understand why people do it but honestly for me you cannot compare me to Kompany because of all that he has done.
“He won almost everything, if not everything, and for how long he was here you cannot compare him to anyone.
“Obviously things are going well for me, I have a lot of ambition and am here to win as are all my colleagues but I’ve just arrived and I have to make my own path.
“I think that’s the best way for me to show respect for me and for everyone else to show respect for what he did for this club.”