Man City star Rodri targeted as former team-mate hatches plan to crush his Euro 2024 dream – Football News

Man City star Rodri targeted as former team-mate hatches plan to crush his Euro 2024 dream

Rodri has been one of Spain’s top performers at Euro 2024 (Image: Getty)

Ilkay Gundogan knows the importance of keeping Rodri on a tight leash better than most. The pair, who spent four years together at Manchester City, will go head-to-head in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals when Germany play Spain this evening.

Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal have stolen the headlines for La Roja but Rodri remains a towering presence in the middle of the park. “I remember his first year at Man City,” said Gundogan. “After training sessions he stayed behind longer, he was always discussing things and trying to learn.

“He managed to perfect his style. That’s why, in his position, he is extraordinary. He’s the best holding midfielder in the world.”

Germany have devised a plan to stop Rodri dictating the Stuttgart showdown as they hunt down a place in the semi-finals of their home tournament.

“You can’t eliminate a player like that for 90 minutes,” Gundogan continued. “But there are certain ways to disturb him and make his life more difficult. Maybe you can make him start to doubt things, and that’s part of our plan for the game.”

Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann also has his sights set on frustrating Spain’s midfield string-puller.

He said: “Rodri is one of their central players but we’ve developed solutions and ideas to make sure he can’t always come into play.

“Spain have very good players all the way through their team. Our spine is also very strong so we don’t have to be scared. We can look forward to the match.”

Germany Training Session And Press Conference

Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri spent four years in the same Man City dressing room (Image: Getty)

One of the players tasked with going up against Rodri, Toni Kroos, has pledged to hang up his boots after Euro 2024. Today could therefore be his last day as a professional footballer if the result doesn’t go Germany’s way.

But Spain don’t intend on playing nice. Kroos’ former Real Madrid team-mate, Joselu, publicly claimed he wants to put him into retirement.

Nagelsmann has refused to get drawn into the back-and-forth and would rather his players do their talking on the pitch.

He said: “The players have to assess it themselves, whether they need it for motivation or not. I want to play the game first and then talk about such topics afterwards.”

This evening’s battle will pit the two most impressive sides at the tournament against one another. Spain boss Luis de la Fuente firmly believes he manages the best international team on the planet.

Gundogan is just pleased that Germany have banished their major tournament demons by making it to a quarter-final for the first time since Euro 2016.

“I personally feel there is a difference between now and the Scotland game,” explained the Barcelona star. “The country didn’t know what to expect, the pressure was high because people wanted us to do well, and because of our record in recent tournaments when we haven’t been good enough.

“I am just looking forward to the challenge, and looking forward to it with a smile. We’ve done the minimum that we had to do – now everything else is icing on the cake.

“The mood in the camp is great, it hasn’t changed since the last game. We feel super prepared for a very difficult game, one on an equal level, and there’s no reason not to feel very confident.”