Ruben Dias believes Pep Guardiola is already a Champions League legend – despite Manchester City ’s failure to land European football’s most glittering prize.
Guardiola was part of the Barcelona team that lifted the trophy for the first time in 1992 before later coaching the Catalan giants to the ultimate triumph twice in the space of three seasons.
But City were beaten by Chelsea in last season’s final – and although Guardiola kissed his runner’s up medal and told his players in the dressing room that they should be proud of the history they had made, the reality is that in eight seasons at the Etihad and Bayern Munich he has suffered nothing but heartbreak.
City face star-studded Paris St Germain on Tuesday night – the team they beat in last season’s semi-finals.
And Footballer of the Year Dias insists his manager has nothing to prove.
“In my opinion he (Guardiola) is one of the best managers ever,” said Dias.
“What he has done in the game, not only here but in Barcelona and at Bayern Munich is incredible.
“People think that it is easy to manage at a top club, but it comes with challenges and the manager has been successful everywhere he’s been.
“Obviously, it’s not just what he’s won here and elsewhere but his style of play.
“It’s a pleasure to be part of his squad and he’ll keep pushing us to keep winning trophies.”
PSG have added Barca legend Lionel Messi to a strikeforce that already included Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
The Argentine is an injury doubt for the City game, but Dias added: “I think you want to test yourself against the best players.
“Messi is a phenomenal player and as a professional, you want to play against all those sorts of names.
“But whether it’s Messi, Mbappe, Neymar or (Mauro) Icardi, PSG have amazing strength in depth and no matter who it is we face, it’ll be a tough test.
“Everyone is looking forward to this game for exactly that reason.
“They (PSG) have obviously strengthened a lot all over the pitch. The signings they have made this season have been fantastic and it will be a different challenge to the team we faced last year.
“But they have also been one of the strongest teams in Europe for a number of years now.
“The likes of (Sergio) Ramos and Messi will add to their winning mentality, but when we played last season, they already had Neymar, Mbappe and (Angel) Di Maria.”
Dias won the Premier League title and the Carabao Cup in an outstanding first season at the Etihad following his £62million arrival from Benfica.
He admits that losing to Chelsea in Porto was a huge disappointment – but agrees with Guardiola that it can be a springboard for the future.
Dias said: “It’s mixed emotions. Of course you want to win it and of course getting as close as we did is tough, but getting to the final in itself was a huge moment for us.
“It was the first time in this club’s history and it can only help us to have had that experience. It’s important not to lose sight of that after a defeat.
“Winning the trophy would have been absolutely incredible and we were as close as we’ve been, but that gives you the motivation to go again this season and hopefully we can go one step further.”