Offensive: at the beginning of his football career Gil Dias played in different positions from midfield up, maintaining always a propensity to attack. His favourite position was left winger in a 4-3-3 formation (like at AD Sanjoanense) or in a 4-4-2 formation (like at Sporting Braga), taking advantage of his remarkable power at that time. Now at Rio Ave FC Dias starts from the right flank where he can curve inwards and show his football skills with his left foot. In the past, for example during his spell at Braga youth academy, Gil played as offensive central midfielder in a 4-4-2 diamond formation or as second striker, in order to take advantage of his good insight into the game. Dias has pretty good technical skills also with his weak foot but sometimes he insists too much on individual plays. Portuguese talent usually loses the ball instead of passing him, relying too much on his passing and above-average kicking skills, shown for example against Moreirense in tje current season of Liga Nos 2016/17.
Defensive: Dias is still unable to read as better as possible the Game when his team are not in possession: that’s his most evident limit of his way of playing. However Gil is an intelligent guy and he is trying as much as possible from his coaches at Rio Ave: Capucho and Luis Castro. He has the body to improve his ability to pressure opponent players and his aerial skills, one of Dias Achilles heels.
In Gafanha da Nazaré on the Portuguese shores of Atlantic Ocean are located Farol da Barra, the tallest lighthouse in the country and the so-called Fábrica das Ideias. Maybe it’s no accident that in the same civil parish was born in 1996 Gil Bastião Dias, the guy that could light up Portuguese football and is showing his skills playing for current first team division Rio Ave FC. In Gafanha da Nazaré sports club Grupo Desportivo da Gafanha give to local youth the chance to practice several sporting disciplines, like basketball, football and futsal. These three sports excited Gil since his childhood; between basketball and football Dias chose association football, also due to his height. At 8 he joined the local club playing there for two years, before being scouted by Sporting Clube de Portugal. Although Gil is a Benfica fan, it’s impossible to reject “The Lions” offer, even because his new club left him also training with his Grupo Desportivo da Gafanha teammates during the week. Unfortunately his spell at Sporting lasted only one year. Dias left Lisbon with broken dreams and the t-shirt number 31, the same as Liedson, the idol of “The Lions” fans between 2003 and 2011. “Levezinho” (Lightweight”), as he was nicknamed at Sporting, came back home full of disappointment, deciding to stay close to his family. For this reason in 2008 he joined AD Sanjoanense, a club based in São João da Madeira in Aveiro District as Gil’s birthplace Gafanha da Nazaré.
That’s the beginning of Dias’ long way to the top. Five years later Sporting Braga would knock to the thid-tier club AD Sanjoanense. The one-season Dias’ spell at “The Archibishops” was stunning. He won Campeonato Nacional de Juniores title and made also few appeareances in the reserve squad. Gil’s performances gave him the ticket to Monaco.
Luis Campos, at that time AS Monaco sporting director, was waiting for him. Former Real Madrid scout under José Mourinho observed Dias and after watching him in a match against U-19 Porto team convinced Gil’s family to join Monegasque club. He signed for “The Red and Whites” playing for reserve team in French fourth division and going on loan to Portuguese side Varzim coached by Capucho, the right man to help Dias in his growth. Gil joined Lobos do Mar in winter transfer window in 2016 and up in a month everyone talked about his skills and Sindicato dos Jogadores, the soccer players Unions, nominated him Best young player in February. At the end of 2015-2016 he would score six goals in 15 games, despite a clavicle fracture suffered in the league match against Farense. In order to make him improve again AS Monaco sent Dias on loan to Rio Ave alongside coach Capucho. In Vila do Conde Gil has adjusted well to the top Portuguese division showing wonderful changes of pace. Now he is waiting for a call up by U21 national team coach Rui Jorge after being selected for a stage in view of 2017 European Championship in Poland. It could be a natural step on his way to France or maybe the culmination of his dream to play for Benfica, the club he supported.
Shy and principled, Gil Dias has grown up in a quite environment, where he’s learnt respect for other people and the importance of making sacrificies. For the young Portuguese talent a role model is his grandfather, who moved to Monaco with him. There Dias has “stolen” football secrets from his countrymen Ricardo Carvalho, Bernando Silva, João Moutinho (the latter one is his football idol) and especially his coach Leonardo Jardim. Former Sporting Lisbon manager has expressed his appreciation to Dias since his arrival in Monaco.
Pro and cons
UP. Change of pace, skills in narrow spaces, efficiency
DOWN. Ability to defend when his team are not in possession, too discontinuous during the game