Football News

Future Benfica captain Ruben Dias already one of the best defenders in the world, claims club president

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:56, 24 March 2019

Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira has dubbed Ruben Dias as one of the best defenders in the world.

The 21-year-old has missed just four games across all competitions for Benfica this season, starting 25 of out 26 in the league while also helping the Portuguese side reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

How good is Ruben Dias? Five key things to know…

  1. Dias made his Benfica debut in September 2017, having come through the club’s academy.
  2. The centre-back has played in 25 of Benfica’s 26 league games so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets.
  3. His performances at the back have reportedly drawn interest from Serie A champions Juventus.
  4. But Benfica president Vieira has rebuffed the interest, dubbing Dias one of the best in his position in the world.
  5. Dias has made more clearances than any other Benfica player in the Liga NOS this season (80).

A string of performances have seen Dias linked with a move to Juventus, who will be looking to secure a long-term replacement for 34-year-old centre-back Giorgio Chiellini when the veteran calls time on his career.

But Vieira is adamant Dias will remain with Benfica, even predicting he could one day captain the Portuguese club.

“This is not the time, nor the place to talk about it,” he told Tuttosport of the Juventus interest, as reported by Football Italia.

“We’ll see in future, but Ruben is 21 years old and already one of the best in the world for his role. He’ll have a marvellous career and I like to think he’ll become our captain over the next few years.”

Dias’ role at the back for Benfica has helped them keep 12 clean sheets with the young centre-back on the pitch, and has seen them climb to the top of the Portuguese league on goal difference with eight games to play.

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Rui Costa concedes Benfica need to sell in order to buy

However, Benfica look set to have a tough summer ahead of them in terms of keeping their young stars at the Estadio da Luz.

The Eagles also hold one of the most promising young midfielders in their ranks in Joao Felix, who Vieira predicted to be the best Portuguese export since Cristiano Ronaldo.

But sporting director Rui Costa admits he is unsure on whether Benfica will be able to keep hold of Dias, should one of Europe’s elite clubs express an interest in his services.

He told Tuttosport: “If he goes away I don’t know: we would like to keep him still and Ruben knows that here we would have a lot of attention. The club has needs to sell to make cash. We will see how the summer market will develop.”