By 90Min
July 30, 2018

Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo says he wants to challenge fellow midfielders Saul, Koke and Thomas Partey for a starting spot in Diego Simeone's side.

The midfielder - also known as Rodri - was released by the Atletico academy at the age of 17 for being too small, but was re-signed by the club from Villarreal for €20m in May.

And in an exclusive interview with Marca, the 22-year-old says he is ready to compete for a starting place in Los Rojiblancos' starting lineup, which Rodri says is capable of winning everything this season.

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When asked about competing alongside the likes of Koke and Saul, Rodri said: "Wherever you go there are great players. I know these guys and they're brilliant. 

"In the end, it's one of the best clubs in the world and as I want to play with the best, I have to fight for a place with the best."

The Spaniard also revealed he is excited to be a part of the Atletico project once again, and has stated that this team is capable of winning any trophy this season.

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Rodri added: "After keeping the players we've kept and bringing in the ones we have signed, it's a squad to fight for everything. I'm very excited by the project here, it's a great team. 

"We will go for everything, knowing that there are other clubs and that everything is decided by the details, but we will have a chance definitely and no-one can beat our enthusiasm."

After being released by Atletico in 2013, Rodri immediately joined Villarreal on a free transfer, making his first year debut in December 2015 after two years in the Yellow Submarine academy set-up.

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The player went onto make 63 league appearances for the La Liga side, scoring once, and his form for the Yellow Submarine earned him a call-up to Julien Lopetegui's preliminary Spain squad for the World Cup this summer. Rodri also said that while he never wanted to leave Villarreal, the opportunity to return to Atletico was too good to turn down.

He added: "I was at Villarreal, very happy and hadn't thought about leaving. Then when the opportunity arose [to return to Atletico], I looked at it as though I could go back and see my family, everything was perfect."

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Rodri could make his La Liga debut for his new side when Atletico visit Valencia on 20 August. The 22-year-old could also be in line to play on his return to Villarreal when Simeone's men visit the Estadio de la Ceramica on 21 October.

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