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Pep Guardiola believes Man City’s Rodri is ‘by far’ best midfielder in the world

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Feb 2024

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Pep Guardiola believes Rodri is “by far” the best midfielder in the world but is pleased his performances do not always grab the headlines.

The Spain international was title-chasing Manchester City’s saviour on Saturday as his late equaliser rescued what could prove a vital point in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

It is now over 12 months – against Tottenham on February 5 last year – since City lost a match in which the 27-year-old played.

Yet his Champions League final-winning goal or this weekend’s dramatic leveller aside, he rarely steals the limelight from the likes of Erling Haaland or Kevin De Bruyne.

Guardiola admits that is just the way he likes it.

The City manager said: “I would say if the holding midfielder doesn’t get the same appreciation as the strikers or the number 10 then that is good. When a holding midfielder has a lot of appreciation, it is not good.

“The holding midfielder has to play positive, for him and for the team, and make the team play. This is the role for the holding midfielders. All the highlights have to be for the guys up front who score goals and make assists and so on.

“But Rodri always has the ability in important moments to score goals so he’s an unbelievable player. He’s the best midfield player in the world currently by far because he is able to do everything.

“What a signing. It’s difficult to understand how we could have done what we have done in recent years without him.”

Saturday’s result extended City’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine games but the loss of two points left the champions third behind Liverpool and Arsenal, four points off the top.

They are back in action when they play their game in hand, a rearranged contest against Brentford, on Tuesday.

Defender Kyle Walker is relishing what is shaping up to be a three-way battle for the title.

The England right-back said: “I feel that we’re up against two very, very good teams in Liverpool and Arsenal.

“Liverpool have got the momentum, and obviously with the manager leaving maybe it’s a little bit of enthusiasm that they’ve got now, to let him go out on a high.

“But we want to do something that no-one’s ever been able to do and that’s win four in a row, so we’ve got our own motivation.

“Now it’s the best team wins at the end of a tough, tough 38 games come the end of the season but I’m sure we’ll be fighting on all fronts as we always are.”

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