Pep Guardiola believes this summer Manchester City may have landed their defensive midfielder for the next decade in Rodri. The Citizens broke their transfer record to bring in the 23-year-old from Atletico Madrid with a view to him being Fernandinho’s replacement at the base of their midfield. The Spaniard has settled into life quickly at the Etihad Stadium and his performances have already caught the eye of his manager, who highlighted his form following Saturday’s 3-1 win over sister club Yokohama F Marinos in Japan.
“Rodri was incredible today. We knew it but today I can assure you we have an incredible holding midfielder for the next decade – or at least the years he will be here with a contract,” said Guardiola. The City tactician also highlighted the performances of Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva in City’s final pre-seaon fixture of their tour to the Far East. City led 2-1 at the break as De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling struck either side of a Keita Endo reply, with Luka Nmecha adding a late third.
De Bruyne opened the scoring in the 19th minute at the Nissan Stadium – the 2002 World Cup final venue – by lashing home from the edge of the area after Claudio Bravo launched a break with a long clearance. Yokohama, backed by a vociferous following in a near-capacity crowd, replied almost immediately as Endo pounced on a rebound from close range after Bravo had twice saved.
Sterling rewarded the Premier League champions for their superiority when he raced onto a brilliant through ball from De Bruyne to restore City’s lead. Bravo kept City ahead with a fine save from Takuya Kida before Nmecha completed the scoring. City now fly home on Saturday evening to begin preparations for next week’s Community Shield against Liverpool at Wembley.