Rodri stepped up for Manchester City when their star attackers failed to deliver in the Champions League final on Saturday, capping a memorable season for the Spain midfielder by scoring the goal which made his team kings of Europe.
Rodri fulfilled the dreams of Pep Guardiola and City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners with the only goal in a tight 1-0 win over Inter Milan who defied expectations to push City all the way.
“I’m emotional, it’s a dream come true. All these guys (the fans) around here waiting 20, 30, 40 years,” Rodri told BT Sport. “I’ve been here just four years but we deserve it. We were so close these last years but when you go to semi-finals, finals, finally God gives you this present… It’s a dream for all of us.”
The 26-year-old scored the winner in his 52nd start of the season, a mark of how important he is to Guardiola’s City, building play alongside John Stones and usually allowing a stellar attack to run riot.
But on Saturday it was his turn for the limelight as Kevin De Bruyne exited his second straight Champions League final with an injury and the normally prolific Erling Haaland was restricted to scraps by Inter’s well-drilled defence.
With extra-time already looking like a possibility, Rodri was in the right place at the right time when Bernardo Silva’s cutback was deflected off course.
He strode onto the ball and with the calm which has characterised his midfield play all season coolly placed his shot past Andre Onana. It was also redemption for a poor first-half performance in which he struggled with the pressure that Inter applied on him and was uncharacteristically sloppy in possession.