Pep Guardiola believes Rodri is ‘by far’ best midfielder in the world


Pep Guardiola believes Rodri is “by far” the best midfielder in the world but is pleased his performances don’t always grab the headlines.

The Spain international chased Manchester City’s savior on Saturday as his late equalizer salvaged what could prove to be a crucial point in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

It is now more than 12 months – against Tottenham on February 5 last year – since City lost a game in which the 27-year-old played.

Yet his latest UEFA Champions League winning goal or this weekend’s dramatic equalizer rarely steals the limelight from the likes of Erling Haaland or Kevin De Bruyne.

Guardiola admits he likes it.

The City manager said: “I would say if a holding midfielder doesn’t get the same recognition as the forwards or a No.10, then that’s good. When a central midfielder gets a lot of credit, it’s not good.

“The midfielder has to play positively for himself and the team and make the team play.” That’s the role for holding midfielders. All the highlights have to be for the guys up front who score goals and assists and so on.

“But Rodri always has the ability to score goals at important times, so he is an incredible player. He is by far the best midfielder in the world at the moment because he can do everything.

“What a signing. It’s hard to see how we could have done what we’ve done in recent years without him.”

Saturday’s result extended City’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine games, but the two-point loss left the champions third behind Liverpool and Arsenal, four points off the top.

They are back in action when they play their game in hand, a reshuffled competition against Brentford on Tuesday.

Defender Kyle Walker is relishing what is shaping up to be a three-way title battle.

The England right-back said: “I feel we are up against two very, very good teams in Liverpool and Arsenal.

“Liverpool have got momentum and of course when the manager is leaving, maybe it’s a bit of enthusiasm they have now to let him go to the top.”

“But we want to do something that no one has ever done, which is to win four in a row, so we have our own motivation.

“Now it’s the best team to win at the end of a tough, tough 38 games at the end of the season, but I’m sure we’ll fight on all fronts like we always do.”

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