When Manchester City signed Rodri for a club-record fee of £62.8m in July 2019, they were taking a big risk on a 22-year-old who had played for Atlético Madrid for just one season following a couple of impressive campaigns at Villarreal. Still very much making his way in Champions League-level football, Rodri was brought to the Etihad as the long-term successor to the ageing Fernandinho in City’s central midfield. After needing a period to settle in, Rodri has become an important member of one of the best teams in Premier League history, under the guidance of one of football’s true innovators in Pep Guardiola.
“He’s improving a lot,” Guardiola said in November 2020. “He is starting to read what happens better. Still he’s trying to solve it with his incredible energy, but he is starting to think (more). We have the feeling that he has made an incredible step forward in the way we play.”