Pep Guardiola claimed Rodri was the best midfielder in Europe after leading Manchester City’s 3-1 comeback win over Red Star Belgrade.
The Spain international gave a dominant display in City’s first Champions League game of the campaign and capped the performance with a wonderful strike, adding to his goal in last season’s final against Inter Milan.
“Right now he’s the best [midfielder in Europe]. Hopefully he can be better and improve but he’s an extraordinary holding midfielder,” Guardiola told a press conference. “We were lucky the club signed this player and when he arrived he wasn’t this type of player. Now he’s one of the captains. He’s a top class player.”
Rodri’s goal made sure of the City victory and built on two goals in quick succession from Julian Alvarez, after the champions fell behind to a shock goal from Osman Bukari on the stroke of half-time. Guardiola said conceding the first goal was a good thing for his team as it ensured they stayed motivated. And he paid tribute to Alvarez, who has made a stunning start to the season. “Really good. All the actions were really good and so quick. The assist from Erling was really good. He is so young. What a signing the club have made,” Guardiola added. “He has everything – fighting and goals and assists. Incredible, lovely guy. Playing behind Erling he is an incredible threat. Really pleased for him, he deserves it.”
Guardiola also explained that he took off Bernardo Silva before half-time as he had picked up an injury which will now rule him out of Saturday’s game at home to Nottingham Forest. City have a long list of injured players including Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Mateo Kovacic and Guardiola admitted: “We are in trouble.”
Guardiola’s side host Forest in the Premier League on Saturday. Their next Champions League game is away to RB Leipzig on October 4.