In his first press conference as a Manchester City player, new signing Rodri has revealed why he joined the club, and what fans can expect from him at the Etihad, amid comparisons to Sergio Busquets.
The Spanish midfielder joined the Citizens from Atletico Madrid in a €70m deal and, speaking for the first time since that release clause was triggered, as quoted by the club's official website, he admitted: “It’s a dream for me to come here. A great team, great staff. I have a lot of things to learn and I decide this is the best place for my career.
“I have been following this team for four, five years. I like this football. I like watching City games and learning...Once I knew City were interested in me, there was no doubt for me."
And, one of the principal reasons behind this eagerness was the man in the dugout, as Rodri explained: "I think Pep [Guardiola] is the greatest coach in the world and that’s what made me come. It’s important for me. I want to learn and grow as a player. I am very young and have a lot of things to do. With his coaching, I am going to grow here. I am really happy.”
Speaking on the club's history and trajectory, Rodri (earning himself undoubted popularity already) declared: “Maybe City have changed the story. I think City in the last five, six years have changed the story of football, not just in Manchester but in all England.
“I look for the challenge on the sporting front. That’s why I moved here. I love the city, I love Manchester. It’s becoming more Blue and the way they win lots of things, that says this team is growing. That’s why I came here.”
“I have to fight from the first day - Monday we start. I have lots of aptitudes and skills to fit into this team. I can help this team a lot, that’s why I came here. I am excited to start and show what I can do.”
His style of play has oft been compared to Barcelona legend Sergio Busquets, and on this, the 23-year-old said: “I think he has been the greatest defensive midfielder in last ten years for me, for Barca and Spanish national team.
“I am very close to him, but I have other skills. I want to be another player. I want to learn from Fernandinho. He is quite a similar player to me."
And then it was back to Pep, with the midfielder rounding off by insisting: “Since Pep arrived, the football has been radically changed, City are one of the most feared teams in Europe. It isn’t just the way they pass, it’s not just pretty football, they can hurt you in the final third.
“They have a real respect throughout Europe. I would consider them one of the top two or three teams in the world.
“Even good team change their style when they play City and that is a great indication of how good they are and what Pep has done.”