Rodri named UEFA Champions League player of the season 2022-23

The technical observer panel of UEFA has named Manchester City’s midfielder Rodrigo Hernández Cascante, famous as Rodri, as the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League Player of the season.

The 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer scored the winning goal as City lifted the trophy for the first time when they beat Inter Milan 1-0 in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final 2023.

Rodri appeared in all but one of Manchester City’s matches in their Champions League-winning campaign, scoring twice. In a Player of the Match performance in the final, his precisely-executed winning strike clinched the trophy.

“It’s a dream. This moment will never happen again,” Rodri said. “All these [City fans have] waited I don’t know how many years. They deserve it, we deserve it,” he added.

Rodri believes Manchester City’s first Champions League triumph can be the launchpad to build a legacy akin to that of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Milan as clubs who are serial winners of the trophy.

 “It was so important to win against Inter because we can build a legacy for the future,” The Guardian quoted him. “We can trust in ourselves that we did it and this is what teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, AC Milan – these kind of clubs – did in the past. So yes we believe we can do it again. That’s why it’s so important”, he added.

“This [winning the competition] talks a little bit about life – you have to try and push, even though some years it’s not been fair for us. Sport is like this. You have to keep going and keep going and in the end God gave this amazing present for all of us. The good point is we won but we created a culture and we won more,” Rodri said.

“Guys like Erling [Haaland], 22-year-olds, and the lads coming now we have a very good squad for the next years.”

On his winning goal, Rodri said: “From my point of view I want to thank the team. It’s a victory of many years of work at this amazing club. They trusted me to come here, even though the change wasn’t easy. It was a new culture for me and I arrive, now scoring the most important goal in the history of this club. We deserve it. What a season. We deserve it.”

“I think it was the only time I went forward in the game because Inter was so narrow I wanted to make sure the two strikers weren’t comfortable. In that moment I just saw the space. In the first moment I thought about shooting strong but then I realised there were six or seven players in the goal area and I was like: ‘No, I’m going to put it in the first post.’ The end result was incredible but there was half an hour still to go so it was a big effort from all of us.”

Rodri’s 2022/23 Champions League stats: Appearances: 12; Goals: 2; Passing accuracy: 93.8%.




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Updated: 12 Jun 2023, 02:40 AM IST

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