Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Rodri ready to make Manchester City 'more physical'

Spanish midfielder sealed a club record move from Atletico Madrid this summer

Rodri has been preparing for his first season with Manchester City on their pre-season tour of Asia. Getty Images
Rodri has been preparing for his first season with Manchester City on their pre-season tour of Asia. Getty Images

Rodri has said he hopes to add a bigger physical threat to Manchester City as the Spanish midfielder prepares for his debut season with the Premier League champions following his club record move from Atletico Madrid.

City won the domestic treble last season, which included a Premier League points haul bettered only by their record-breaking campaign in 2017/18.

Pep Guardiola's side may be the undisputed kings of English football, but they felt the need to bolster their ranks with the £62.8 million (Dh288m) acquisition of Rodri, who has been earmarked as the successor to Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho.

Even with the wealth of talent on the books at City, Rodri believes he can offer a different option to Guardiola.

"I think he has lots of talented players but maybe one of the things the team can get is more physical," said Rodri during the club's pre-season tour of Asia.

"We have lots of players that are great or small and you never know if it's good or bad, but having a mix of players is always good.

"Football is changing now. It's getting more physical. It's good for me to have that physique in the position I play.

"I noticed years ago that I had to become both a defensive and an attacking player if I wanted to be good enough to be in Manchester."

Physicality is not something 23-year-old Rodri has always been known for, although he insists that is not the reason he was initially let go as a teenager by Atletico, contrary to reports.

Rodri went on to make his name with Villarreal before being given a chance to return to Atletico last year, where he excelled and attracted the interest of City and other clubs.

"Many people ask me about that. I moved from the Atletico academy when I was young and I moved for many reasons - not that reason - but that was in the media," he said.

"The truth was I had a later development. I wasn't developed like my team-mates, I wasn't big and strong when I was 16, 17."

_______________________

David Silva and Man City teammates greeted by fans in Hong Kong

_______________________

Rodri is excited about how he will fit in under Guardiola but, having admired City for some time, he insists it was not the coach that attracted him to the club.

"I love football," he said. "Obviously I watched more La Liga when I was there but I watched the big teams in the Premier League, Manchester City the most.

"I like the way they play. I think they're the only team in the Premier League that plays differently and shows another type of football. I like looking at those players because they are all great players.

"I came here because I think for my career it is the best team and where I think I'm going to win. That's the only reason I came here. Pep being here helps me to make the decision but it wasn't a big part of the decision."

That said, after a year playing under Diego Simeone at Atletico, he admits he has chosen his coaches well.

He said: "Imagine me as a 23-year-old. I have been three years in the first division and I now spend two of them with two of the greatest coaches in the last 20 or 30 years. It's good for me to grow and I'm proud of it."

Updated: July 23, 2019 03:45 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks