Rodri prepares for International duty after Champions League heroics

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Following a successful season where he significantly contributed to the team’s treble success, Rodri sets his eyes for International duty

Rodri, who was the hero of the Champions League final, is expected to play for Spain in the Nations League on Thursday, just five days after helping Manchester City win the treble. 

The coach of Spain, Luis de la Fuente, has not yet decided on the team for the semi-final against Italy in Enschede, but suggested that Rodri is a likely contender for a position in the game.

Despite his teammates celebrating, the midfielder who scored the winning goal for City in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on Saturday has joined the national squad for a four-nation tournament in the Netherlands.

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Rodri scored City’s UCL final winning goal

“He cannot be more motivated than after winning a Champions League and being named as the man of the match. He has put Manchester City in the history books. It’s, of course, very difficult to win the Champions League,” the Spain coach told a press conference on Wednesday.

Aymeric Laporte, who was on the bench during City’s triumph in the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League, has now joined Rodri in the Spain squad.

“Rodri and Laporte are two great professionals and they come prepared to play,” De la Fuente said. 

“They have worked separately from the squad at first and then together with everyone. I have no doubt that if we need them, they will be there for us.”

Rodri, who will be 27 years old next week, captained the Spanish team for the first time in their previous match in March. Unfortunately, they suffered an unexpected loss against Scotland during the Euro 2024 qualifying round. 

This defeat occurred in Glasgow and was the second game that De la Fuente had managed after taking over from Luis Enrique.

“Game after game, we will move closer to the style and image we want to see, but I’m really positive about this team. They are improving every day,” he said.

“Tomorrow we’re playing a semi-final against Italy. It’s a huge game. And I’m really sure we’re going to be up to the challenge. It’s not often you are in a situation where you are only two matches from a major title,” the coach added.

Jordi Alba, aged 34, may be facing a crucial point in his career as he has been let go by Barcelona. However, he is excited about his unexpected comeback to the Spain squad for the upcoming Nations League finals. 

Alba, who has played in 91 matches, had his last appearance for Spain at the World Cup in Qatar. His international career seemed to be over when he was excluded from the first two games under new coach Luis de la Fuente in March.

“The decision I make about my future will not depend on whether or not I can come to the Spanish team. The coach has seen what I can do and picked me and I see myself capable of continuing for more years. It is always a delight to be here with the national side,” Alba told a press conference on Wednesday.

“I value this call-up. I’ve come to help and I’m convinced that things will go well.”

“What I see is very positive. From within we are very united. It is a very nice tournament to play and hopefully we can win it,” Alba added.

Alba avoided answering inquiries regarding where he will be playing next.

“As you know I don’t have a team and I’m not worried about being here without a team. It is a decision that I have to make with my family,” he added.

Alba participated in fewer than 50% of Barcelona’s league matches this season, which has led to speculation that he was forced out of the financially-struggling club, despite having a successful 11-year tenure that included six La Liga championships and a 2015 Champions League triumph. 

According to reports in the Spanish media, he was approached about the possibility of joining Lionel Messi at Inter Miami in Major League Soccer. Alba has also been linked to Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, and teams in Saudi Arabia.

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