Rodri ready for Spain duty days after Champions League heroics

football14 June 2023 12:12| © Reuters
Rodri © Gallo Images

Champions League final hero Rodri is likely to be thrust straight back into action for Spain in the Nations League on Thursday, five days after helping Manchester City complete the treble.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said he had yet to settle on his line-up for the semifinal against Italy in Enschede but hinted that Rodri was a strong candidate for a role in the game.

The midfielder scored the winner for City in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on Saturday but while his teammates have been celebrating, he has joined up with the national squad for the four-nation tournament in Netherlands.

"He cannot be more motivated than after winning a Champions League and being named as the man of the match. He has put Manchester City in the history books. It's, of course, very difficult to win the Champions League," the Spain coach told a press conference on Wednesday.

Rodri is joined in the Spain squad by Aymeric Laporte, who was an unused substitute on Saturday as City completed their sweep of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles.

"Rodri and Laporte are two great professionals and they come prepared to play," De la Fuente said. "They have worked separately from the squad at first and then together with everyone. I have no doubt that if we need them, they will be there for us.”

Rodri, who turns 27 next week, captained Spain for the first time in their last game in March, a surprise defeat in Scotland in Euro 2024 qualifying.

The defeat in Glasgow was only the second game in charge for De la Fuente after replacing Luis Enrique.

"Game after game, we will move closer to the style and image we want to see, but I'm really positive about this team. They are improving every day," he said.

"Tomorrow we're playing a semifinal against Italy. It's a huge game. And I'm really sure we're going to be up to the challenge. It’s not often you are in a situation where you are only two matches from a major title," the coach added.