Football Features

13 ways football has changed since Rodri last lost a game for Man City

By CJ Smith

11 ways football has changed since Rodri last lost a game for Man City

Published: 14:27, 11 April 2024

Who remembers the last time Rodri lost a match with Manchester City?

The Citizens’ epic 3-3 draw with Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday extended his long unbeaten run at club level to 66 games and 429 days, with his last defeat coming away at Tottenham in the Premier League on February 5th, 2023.

Yes, City have lost games in the time since. Five to be precise, with Brentford, Newcastle, Wolves, Arsenal and Aston Villa all inflicting defeat on them in one competition or another. However, Rodri didn’t make the pitch in any of those matches, highlighting just how truly important he is to the defending English and European champions.

That got us thinking: just how much has changed in football during that time? While Rodri has been busy seeing off every opponent that dares to cross his path, the rest of the footballing world has witnessed managerial changes, wonderkid debuts, surprise trophy wins and more.

Here are 13 ways football has changed since Rodri last lost a match at club level:

1. Manchester City won the treble

This is the most obvious place to start. When Spurs beat City in February last year, it was a result that left Pep Guardiola’s men five points behind leaders Arsenal, who also had a game in hand. But, of course, we all know the collapse that followed from the Gunners, with City also going on one of their famous late-season tears to retain their Premier League title. That wasn’t all, with the blue half of Manchester beating the red half in the FA Cup final, followed by a 1-0 triumph over Inter in the Champions League final — the only goal scored by Rodri, of course — to seal a famous treble.

2. Jürgen Klopp announced he’s leaving Liverpool

Liverpool are the only team to truly compete with Manchester City over an extended period in the Guardiola era and all that is thanks to Jürgen Klopp, who has transformed the Merseysiders back into an elite powerhouse. But who knows how that could change following the announcement from the German that he’ll leave the club at the end of this season.

The Reds have already won the EFL Cup in Klopp’s final campaign, are gunning for the Europa League and remain locked in a three-way battle with Man City and Arsenal for the Premier League title.

Nobody would have predicted Klopp’s announcement back when Rodri last lost a club match, that’s for sure.

3. Bayer Leverkusen embarked on a record-breaking unbeaten run of their own

Rodri isn’t the only one who can maintain a long unbeaten run. Bayer Leverkusen have been the talk of European football over the past year, with their invincible streak now stretching to an incredible, German-record-breaking 41 matches across all competitions. It’s a run that’s put them on the verge of their own treble, with their first-ever Bundesliga title one more result away, a DFB-Pokal final against second-division Kaiserslautern to come and Die Werkself still in the Europa League.

Bayer Leverkusen were battling relegation the last time Rodri lost with City.

4. Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich

Harry Kane scored the winning goal in Rodri’s last club defeat but has since departed for Bayern Munich. There’s a good chance he still won’t end his trophy drought, despite making a mockery of almost every defence he’s faced since switching to German football. Maybe we’ll be adding ‘Bayern go trophyless for the first time since 2011/12’ to this list soon.

However, it is worth noting that during his time at Bayern, Kane was able to claim the status as the highest-scoring visiting player at the Emirates with six goals, the latest of which came in the Champions League for Bayern.

5. Thomas Tuchel joined Bayern Munich and then announced departure 

Thomas Tuchel has been the man on the sidelines throughout this tough spell for Bayern but having only joined in March 2023, we already know he’ll leave at the end of the season thanks to the Bavarians’ poor showing. It’s perhaps a little harsh to blame all of Bayern’s problems on Tuchel given they’ve still lost just 13 of his 52 games in charge across all competitions, but there’s no doubt he’s endured a miserable time in Munich.

6. Mauricio Pochettino joined Chelsea

As always, Chelsea have been riding the managerial merry-go-round. In fact, since Rodri last lost with Man City, they’ve disposed of Graham Potter, had Bruno Saltor and Frank Lampard oversee interim spells and then hired Mauricio Pochettino. Who knows how long the Argentine will stay in the Stamford Bridge dugout, with Chelsea stuck in mid-table and with only the FA Cup now able to save them from a second straight trophyless season.

7. Lionel Messi helped Inter Miami win their first-ever trophy

Inter Miami have certainly been turning heads as they reunite a number of Barcelona legends, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba all now turning out for the Herons. And the Florida side only recently lifted their first-ever major trophy by beating Nashville SC on penalties in the 2023 Leagues Cup final. Messi scored in the final, which ended 1-1 and took 22 spot-kicks to decide.

8. Erling Haaland broke the Premier League single-season goalscoring record

Returning to Manchester City, it took Erling Haaland just one campaign following his move from Dortmund to beat the single-season Premier League goalscoring record. The Norwegian machine hit an incredible 36 goals in 2022/23, not only beating Mohamed Salah’s 38-game-season record of 32 goals, but also the 34-goal returns of Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, who set those standards back when the Premier League was played across 42 games.

9. Lamine Yamal burst onto the scene for Barcelona and Spain

It’s been an incredible rise for Lamine Yamal, who still doesn’t turn 17 until July but already has six goals and seven assists to his name in 42 senior Barcelona appearances and two goals and two assists in six caps for Spain. Incredibly, Rodri’s young compatriot hadn’t even made his senior debut the last time he lost a club match.

10. Kobbie Mainoo made his Man Utd breakthrough

Sticking with rising stars, we’ve also witnessed Kobbie Mainoo make his breakthrough for Manchester United. The 18-year-old midfielder had already made a couple of sporadic appearances earlier in the 2022/23 campaign, but it’s this season where he’s really established himself as not just a regular, but a key component of Erik Ten Hag’s side. Mainoo also recently made his senior debut for England where he was named Player of the Match against Belgium.

11. Man Utd lost 23 times

At the time of Man City’s loss to Spurs, rivals Man Utd were actually putting together a bit of an unbeaten run. It didn’t last, however, and the Red Devils have since fallen to no fewer than 23 defeats across all competitions, most painfully in that FA Cup final against City and 7-0 at Anfield.

12. Tottenham have cycled through four managers

Similar to their London rivals Chelsea, Tottenham have also cycled through multiple managers over the past year or so. Antonio Conte was at home recovering from surgery when Spurs beat Man City 1-0 in February 2023. However, the Italian would last just another month before being relieved of his duties. In the time since, Spurs have hired Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason as interim, followed by the arrival of Ange Postecoglou.

13. Chelsea spent a fortune, but won nothing

Since Todd Boehly’s takeover ahead of the 2022 summer transfer window, Chelsea have spent over £1bn, with around a quarter of that coming since the last summer transfer window; the first transfer window since Rodri’s last defeat.

They’re some eye-watering sums but made to look even worse when you consider that Chelsea have won a grand total of nothing during that time. For what it’s worth, Rodri has lifted five different trophies in that time.

Bonus: A man ran the length of Africa

Ok, so it’s not a football one, but Englishman Russ Cook became the first-ever person to run the entire length of Africa recently. Cook’s journey started not long after City’s loss to Spurs, setting off from Cape Agulhas in South Africa, on 22 April 2023 and finally arriving in Ras Angela, Tunisia, the most northern point of the African continent, on Sunday.