Rodri feels fortunate to have worked with ‘two of the best’ in Guardiola & Simeone

goal.com, 12 December 2019, 08:45
At just 23 years old, the Man City midfielder has already spent time working under two of the most demanding and highly-rated coaches in the business

Manchester City midfielder Rodri feels fortunate to have already spent time working under “two of the best” coaches around in Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone.

At just 23 years of age, the Spain international has over 150 competitive appearances at club level and seven caps for his country to his name.

His career has taken him from Villarreal to Manchester via Madrid, with impressive progress having allowed him to make each forward step in his career with consummate ease.

Those around him have helped to keep him heading for the top, with Atletico boss Simeone and City manager Guardiola acknowledged to be two of the most demanding and highly-respected tacticians in the business.

Rodri told Goal of his experiences to date: “Simeone and Guardiola are two opposites.

“To be just 23 and to have had two of the best coaches of this era work with you, it has helped me to grow a lot, in the defensive phase and in the offensive.

“We know that each of them has a different way of watching football, but they are both winners, they work 24 hours a day to improve the players... both are very good. Simeone is consistency and perseverance. Guardiola is innovative, growing day by day.”

Rodri has once again settled quickly in new surroundings following a big-money move to the Etihad Stadium over the summer and is pleased with how his English adventure is unfolding.

He added: “City is an exciting project, one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

“It is a dream to be here at an individual level, a challenge to grow as a player and a new experience in a new league like the Premier League, which has a great impact on a global stage. I’m really happy.”

There should still be plenty more to come from Rodri, as he adjusts to the demands of life outside of his homeland and gains more experience, with there a desire on his part to follow in some rather illustrious footsteps.

On his role models, a versatile operator said: “[Zinedine] Zidane was an idol when I was little, but it is true that given my characteristics, I do not have the profile of Zidane. He played from three-quarters forward, with more imagination and less responsibility.

“In my place on the field, I have more responsibility. I look at Xabi Alonso, [Sergio] Busquets, players who have been a great example of how to improve.”

If Rodri can get anywhere close to the levels achieved by a collection of World Cup winners then he should prove to be a shrewd addition for City.

They need him to continue raising his game, with Guardiola’s side having endured the odd wobble in 2019-20 to slip off the Premier League title race while remaining competitive on multiple fronts.

“On an individual basis I can say that Liverpool are the best team I have faced,” Rodri said of the challenges presented to the Blues.

“They dominate at both ends of the field, they are very aggressive. They dominate the lines well and that makes them a fearsome team. They are very good, but anyone can beat him so we are going to fight until the end.

“I don't know if the goal is to beat Liverpool, who are European champions, as I think you always have to focus on yourself.

“If we focus on Liverpool too much we are wrong. We would better looking at ourselves and play as we did at Atleti under Simeone, game by game. You can't stop competing and that's what Guardiola instils in us every day, that every game is a final. ”

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