Rodri gave a clear indication that he wants to extend his Manchester City contract after crediting Pep Guardiola with a “massive” contribution to his progress.
The 25-year-old Spain international has become a key player for the Blues in the last three seasons, making a smooth transition from Fernandinho’s reign as midfield kingpin.
But with just two years left on his current deal, the club needs to start planning ahead after already securing Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Jack Grealish, Ederson, John Stones, Cole Palmer, James McAtee, Kayky, Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne, Nathan Ake and Bernardo Silva for at least the next three years.
But Rodri, speaking ahead of City’s clash with Norwich, indicated that expected talks about a new deal in the next 12 months should not pose much trouble.
“I see my future at this club,” said the £62million buy from Atletico Madrid, now an important figure in Guardiola’s team.
“Since I arrived, I have always been so happy here. I feel very involved in the club and in the Premier League. It has been fantastic the way it has all gone and I’m so happy for it.
“I’m very pleased about the success we have had so far, but I want more. This team needs to have a high demand because we have everything, we have the quality, the ambition and the structure to do it. They are going to demand us to do it.
“We know winning all the time is difficult, but we show our hunger season after season. This is the character that has been built at Manchester City.”
There were some doubts about Rodri in his first season, unfair ones, as he was settling into a different football culture and finding his feet as a holding midfielder, a tough task in Guardiola’s complex system.
He was also not as agile and dynamic as Fernandinho, the Brazil ace he was brought in to succeed, and did not appear to have the same passing range.
But his height and physicality at set pieces has been a bonus, and he has also widened his passing range.
“I think I have grown a lot,” he said. “I see my development since my first season. I think I have been at a good level, but I realize how much I have improved on the tactical side, the way I understand the game here.
“I’m very happy about this, it’s a good feeling when you feel you have grown and you have improved as a player. That has always been my ambition. Try to become better every season.”
Stepping into a position that was occupied with such a distinction by Guardiola at Barcelona might have been daunting, but Rodri has achieved the chance to learn from a man who was a master at anchoring the midfield.
Asked about Guardiola’s contribution, Rodri said: “It’s been massive. We are young players that reach the top and you need a guide who tells you how to play at this level, especially in such an important role as holding midfielder.
“You must know exactly what’s going on in the game and I think that is the most difficult part of my role – analyze the games, analyze how I can be important for the team, many times sacrificing myself for what the team needs.
“That is the most important part of the role of holding midfielder. I learned that over the last three years at Manchester City.”
And he still recalls his first conversation with the manager after arriving in 2019: “It was all about football because it’s our life.
“The moment I signed here, I remember him showing me pictures with movements. I thought it was my first day here and he was already showing me ways to move on the pitch.
“That makes you feel important, that makes you feel part of a big project, it makes you feel like you are at home. I was very happy in my first encounter with Pep.”