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Manchester City would not have won the Treble without one player, insists Pep Guardiola



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The historic Treble achievements of Manchester City last season would not have been possible without the talents of midfield general Rodrigo, according to Pep Guardiola.

It was a season of the highest order for Guardiola and his City players last campaign, completing an achievement only previously managed by cross-town rivals Manchester United in 1999.

City’s success in the Premier League, overcoming a battle with Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, was shortly followed up by victory in the FA Cup final over Manchester United, with Ilkay Gundogan most memorably scoring after just 12 seconds.

But the crowning moment came in the Istanbul, as Manchester City won their first ever UEFA Champions League title courtesy of a single second-half goal from Rodri, completing a run in the competition that also saw them dismiss of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Glowing with praise for the aforementioned defensive midfield mainstay, Pep Guardiola has stressed that Manchester City would not have secured the trophies they did during their memorable 2022/23 season without the contributions of Rodri.

“He has to always be a holding midfielder, so maybe he doesn’t have the highlights like a striker, a No. 10, the players up front, but at the same time he’s a decisive player,” Pep Guardiola told TNT Sports in an exclusive interview.

“All the success we have had in the last years, especially last season, without Rodri… (shakes head). He’s the same level like Erling without scoring the goals Erling scores. Without the pressure from Rodri it would not be possible.

“There are players whose influence in the team is so massive. If you said to me Rodri has to be one of the best players of the season, I would say yes, like Phil (Foden).”

Pep Guardiola continued, “But he’s a holding midfielder, and they have to be another prospect, they have to let the team play, read the problems and solve the problems, and leave the highlights for the other people, and he’s comfortable with that.

“There are players whose influence is so big not because the guys who play in this position cannot do it, but there are players that are overwhelming in the play we played, and Rodri is one of them.”

Rodri continues to be an instrumental cog in Manchester City’s current system, however there is a clear feeling within first-team staff that managing his workload during the business end of the season will be imperative to their success.

City are currently without a natural stand-in for the Spanish international, with Kalvin Phillips largely failing in his attempts to break into the squad and take some pressure off of Rodri’s shoulders.

With John Stones, Mateo Kovacic, and Rico Lewis all having stood in for Rodri at times this season, Manchester City officials are likely to turn to the summer transfer market to seek a compliment for their former Atletico Madrid superstar.