Pep Guardiola has hailed Manchester City new boy Rodri as ‘incredible’ and said he could be a vital player ‘for the next decade.’
The Premier League champions wrapped up their preseason campaign with a 3-1 win over Yokohama F Marinos in Japan. Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Lukas Nmecha saw off the challenge of their J-League opponents.
Guardiola praised De Bruyne, but reserved a special commendation for the holding midfielder, signed from Atletico Madrid in a club record £63 million ($78m) deal this summer.
“It’s important to have his quality for the vision to make the last pass when the opponent defends in a high line.
“But Rodri was incredible today. We knew it but today I can assure you we have an incredible holding midfielder for the next decade, or at least the years he will be here with a contract.
“Bernardo [Silva] is back too at his normal level, Sterling continued, and John Stones and Aymeric [Laporte] are back. These guys played incredibly well in the game today.”
Guardiola also said the their pre-season tour, and this match in particular, was perfect preparation for the new season, which kicks off with the Community Shield against Liverpool on August 4.
City held off a concerted challenge from the Reds to clinch their second consecutive league title.
Their margin of victory was just one point, and their manager said their tour of the Far East had set them up to challenge at the top of the table next season as well.
“I know them better so now I don’t have any doubts about what they can do,” he continued.
“I’m not talking about winning or losing but today for example against a team second in the [J-League] table with incredible dynamic and I have no doubts that the team will be ready again to try it.
“The game was incredibly tough and it was an incredible test for preparing not just for Liverpool but the beginning of next season.
“It was perfect for us to play this kind of game because if you don’t do what you have to do they have incredible quality and they took a lot of risks. They played so quick and so good and we were in real trouble.”