‘They’re almost two different sports’ – Manchester City’s Rodri on the difference between La Liga and the Premier League

Speaking exclusively to France FootballManchester City midfielder Rodri (27) has evoked the stark difference between the styles of play in the Premier League and La Liga. 

Having come through the ranks at Atletico Madrid and then Villarreal, Rodri went on to make 97 appearances in Spain’s top flight before moving to Manchester City for a €70m fee back in 2019. Despite a difficult initial adaptation, the Spaniard has gone on to become a household name and one the most highly-rated players in his position. 

He has now played 162 games in the Premier League, which coupled with his understanding and reading of the game, makes him well-placed to discuss the differences between the two leagues. “They’re almost two different sports,” began Spain international Rodri in a wide-ranging interview with France Football. 

Easier to adapt to Guardiola than to the Premier League – Rodri

He added, “The key is understanding the rhythm. In La Liga, you can’t play at the same rhythm as in the Premier League, because your teammates won’t follow you and you’ll isolate yourself with the ball. In Spain, it is patient and tactical; the teams know more about what they want to do with the ball. In England, football is more a question of intensity. I remember my debut against West Ham. I didn’t have half a second to think and I already had an opponent on me. I needed to learn to think quicker, to hold off players to keep hold of the ball. I also had to learn to lose the ball as little as possible because here, with the speed of the opponents, the attacking danger of the teams, the individual talents punish you more than in Spain.”

Rodri added that he needed “less time” to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s style of play, which some players struggle to adhere to at the beginning, than to the Premier League. “Perhaps because of my footballing education in Spain, I needed less time to understand Pep’s game than the Premier League,” he said. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

More European Football News