Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante (Rodri)

Current Club: Manchester City.

Previous Clubs: Atletico Madrid, Villareal, Atletico Madrid, Rayo Majadaho.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Spain 47 caps 1 goal.

Trophies Won: UEFA Champions League 2022/23. English Premier League 2021, 2022, 2023. UEFA Supercup 2018/19, 2023/24. UEFA Nations League 2023. English FA Cup 2023. English League Cup 2020, 2021. Community Shield 2020. European U-19 Championships 2015.

It seems a long time ago now, but after starring in Spain, his initial first season at Man City was a little difficult and he struggled to hold down a first team place. He looked cumbersome, slow and initially a bit confused by the role he was being asked to play. Now though he is the key player for City, even though not their best player, it is his absence that hurts them the most.

While Kevin de Bruyne runs their attacking play, everything goes through Rodri first, and defensively he is the lynchpin to their whole system. It helps that he has such excellent physical attributes for a deep-lying defensive midfield role, though he does lack a little bit in mobility possibly. However his height and strength allow him to drop into central defence when needed, without compromising City's ability to deal with opposing attacks.

He reads the game well, plus has that Fernandinho-like ability to pull off multiple yellow card worthy fouls without picking up a card. Rodri uses that magical power he has very well, to break up quick counters before they can threaten Man City and in the full knowledge he will not get punished no matter how much he trips, pulls or pushes opposing players. Which is very lucky for Citeh as has been shown in his recent suspension, they struggle badly without him and have no one to step in to his role.

Rodri is a very capable centre-back in his own right, playing that role sometimes at Atleti prior to his move, which helps a lot when City are being attacked as he can just drop in if anyone gets dragged out of position. Added to that, he is very good on the ball, which makes him able to play a full part in build up play without being a weak link in any way. It is difficult to pick anyone to rival him when looking at the best defensive midfielders around right now, though his aggression might be too much on another team.

That ability to be able to use the tactical foul with impunity does lift him above the rest, as the most dangerous moment for any team is when they are hit by a swift counter. Having Rodri there allows City to get back and organise their defence before opponents can get at them, allowing them to be able to risk more bodies forward when attacking. That means he provides more than simply defensive solidity and his range of passing, he also allows them to take more risks in attack.

Even without that, Rodri would still be arguably the best at his job in the game, as he is an excellent player, who reads the game very well. He has the size and strength to be able to battle with any opponent in the midfield he faces. Rodri's positioning is good and he is good in the tackle, plus very decent in the air.

Added to that, he plays a very full part in City's play with the ball as he has good movement and range of passing. Rodri can also add a goal or two, but you would not put him as first choice to break upon a loose ball for a shot, that is not a strength of his. In fact it is very surprising that just a couple of seasons ago he managed to score 7 goals for City, as goalscoring is definitely a big weakness of Rodri's game. Though a lot of that is down to not getting forward into the right positions to score very often.

There is very little in the way of weakness in his game, other than lacking the agility and speed of foot to deal with small, tricky attackers with quick feet that run at him. Fortunately for him, most of those type of players tend to play in wide areas. Other than that, Rodri is pretty much the perfect Guardiola defensive midfielder - big, strong, technically excellent and fully capable of dropping in between the centre-backs or charging forward.

Requested by - Alfie2020