‘For football, this would be an interesting change’ – Rodri thinks defensive midfielders should win the Ballon d’Or 

Speaking exclusively to France Football, Manchester City’s Rodri (27) hopes that a defensive player could win the Ballon d’Or. 

The central midfielder since moving from Atlético de Madrid to Manchester City in 2019 for a €70 million fee has become widely recognised as one of the best centre defensive midfielders in the game. 

Rodri controls the tempo of the game both in and out of possession, a figure that has become crucial in Pep Guardiola’s system, as well as for the Spain national team. In the 2022 World Cup, he was even entrusted by Luis Enrique to become a key part of his centre-back pairing, as his ability to build from the back was vital to the team’s ambitions. 

His performances even saw him finish fifth in last year’s Ballon d’Or voting, a feat that the midfielder hopes to one day better, as he states to France Football, “We all dream of it… I would love it if a defensive midfielder like me could win it, it would mean a lot.” 

‘I can say that I’m the fifth-best player in the world’

Rodri continued, “For the winner, but also for the young people who want to play this role and know that they can be recognised other than by necessarily being the player who scores or performs brilliant actions.” 

However, he recognises that it would have to take a sea change for this to happen as the last defensive player to win the competition was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 and before that, it was Matthias Sammer in 1996. “For football, this would be an interesting change. But I am enjoying my ranking. Imagine, I can say that I am the fifth-best player in the world.” 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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