Atletico Madrid look more than ready for the 2018/19 campaign, as their recent, monumental victory against local rivals Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final showed that they have the attacking force and squad depth to go on to competing in all competitions they take part in on all fronts.
With Gabi leaving the Spanish side after spending just over ten years within the first-team at his boyhood club, it will be up to Rodri to fill in the huge void left by the 35-year-old. It may sound like a hard job for him to complete, however, the Spanish midfielder has the capability with his number of abilities to go on to being a huge influence in the middle of the pitch for Diego Simeone’s team.
At the age of 22, Rodri has arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano for €20 million on a five-year deal, which is regarded as a fairly low fee for someone who has a lot of potential in today’s market. Just before the signing had become official by the club, it was quite a surprise to see that both Barcelona and Real Madrid did not show any signs at all of being interested in the former Villarreal player.
The central midfielder showed off his quality on a regular basis at Villarreal last season, where he came in for the injured Bruno Soriano and came up with a huge number of complete performances week in and out. Due to his natural knack of snuffing out the danger in his own half to setting his team off on the counter, there are no doubts that he will go on to have a successful career.
Atletico Madrid’s signing of Rodri should be seen as a fantastic piece of business completed by a club that are predicted to challenge for the La Liga and are expected to go far in the Champions League. Not only that, but the other signings of Gelson Martins, Nikola Kalinic, Santiago Arias and Thomas Lemar will only help Simeone and his men to achieve the objectives they have set out from the start.
Rodri returning to Atletico was eventually going to happen soon or later, given that he was born in the capital city of Spain and had spent just over six years in Los Rojiblanco’s youth academy before moving to Villarreal. Just before he had left, he was told by the coaches that managed and taught him on a day-to-day basis that he lacked the ideal physical strength to play for the club at any level.
Five years later, he returns to Atletico as one of the best up and coming central midfielders in the league, and is simply ready to silence the critics who had second thoughts on him back when he was a teenager. Also, Rodri playing week in and out for one of the best clubs in Spain and in Europe will only increase his chances of being recognised by Luis Enrique, who is the national coach of Spain.
Now, the main question is whether Simeone will stick to his style of play or will allow his team to play expansive football. If that was the end outcome, Rodri would have been perfect at producing many types of balls into the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa and Thomas Lemar. Meanwhile, he is currently doing fine in his role of playing at the centre of midfield, where he controls and dominates play on both sides of the pitch within the well balanced and effective 4-4-2 formation.