Manchester City summer recruit Rodri has been earmarked to ‘replace’ Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets for Spain by former Barcelona defender Albert Ferrer.
Rodri recently completed a £62.6m switch from Atletico Madrid to the Citizens, becoming the club’s second summer signing in the process.
Could Rodri ‘replace’ Busquets? Five things to know…
- Rodri rose to prominence after excelling in Atleti’s midfield last season.
- No player won more tackles than Rodri in La Liga throughout 2018/19 (70).
- He has joined Man City as a long-term successor to the ageing Fernandinho.
- Given Busquets is 30, Spain need an heir and Rodri has already won six caps.
- Ferrer has now branded Rodri the ‘natural Busquets replacement’ for La Roja.
The 23-year-old has joined Pep Guardiola’s side with the belief he will supersede veteran anchorman, Fernandinho, with the Brazilian having recently turned 34.
A deep-lying enforcer is not only integral to the Catalan’s style of play, but also for the Spanish national side, and Ferrer – who played at the Camp Nou for eight years between 1990 and 1998 – believes the Premier League champions have acquired the services of the ‘new Busquets’.
In his column for The Times, he wrote: “I am not surprised that Pep chose Rodri because he is a young player who has done a lot but he can improve many, many things.
“With some key instructions he will be a fantastic player and working with Pep will help him a lot also.
“So there are two things: with the ball he has to be more like a leader and, in terms of defence, he has to be thinking more about being proactive.
“He has to work on this but I’m sure he can do it. He has the quality to do it. Rodri has long legs and can cover a big range of the pitch, up and down and also right to left.
“The times he has played with the Spanish national team, he has played as the holding midfielder on his own. He is a natural replacement for Sergio Busquets for Spain.”
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Ferrer offers Fernandinho comparison
Dissecting Rodri’s ability a little further, Ferrer gave his thoughts on whether his compatriot possesses comparable traits to City’s own defensive midfield metronome.
He added: “What is he like compared to Fernandinho? I would say Rodri is sharper in duels and trying to win headers and when there is a player around he is stronger.
“Fernandinho is maybe faster in the first five to 10 metres, but I think Rodri will have the capacity to become faster over the first metres when he plays alone as a No. 6.
“Both are very good at reading the game and good with the ball.”