Rodri Hernandez certainly isn’t the name people talk about when Manchester City‘s potential is on the agenda.
Instead, that is a space reserved for the talent and leadership of Kevin De Bruyne, the goals of Gabriel Jesus, the magic of Bernardo Silva or the electricity of Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling.
However, with each passing game, the 25-year-old is becoming more important with regard to our collective understanding of the excellent form the Sky Blues are displaying ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
It is not too far-fetched to say that Rodri is going through the most in-form period of his career. He is now playing like the player many had dreamt he would become when he first burst onto the scene at Villarreal in the 2017/18 season, or when he made his Spain debut in March 2018.
Rodri’s excellent form
The Rodri of today is a dominant player who commands everything City do on both sides of the pitch, whether it’s when Pep Guardiola‘s side are keeping control the ball or when they have to recover possession and balance out areas.
In addition, Manchester City‘s midfielder has excelled in one area that until this season had been a weakness: scoring goals. After scoring in the last two Premier League games, Rodri‘s goal tally this season now stands at five. That’s the same figure he managed in his first two seasons combined at the Etihad Stadium.
He is a powerful performer at both ends of the pitch, and Rodri will be one of City‘s threats from set pieces away at Real Madrid. That was one of the main sources of danger Los Blancos suffered from during their quarter-final second leg at home to Chelsea.
But in addition to his ability to attack the ball from free-kicks and corners, the City midfielder has added more shooting prowess. This is the season in which he has had the most shots (42 shots, compared to 32 and 38 in the first two seasons) and he has recorded 12 shots on target. One more shot will make it the campaign in which he has recorded his most attempts on target.