Last Tuesday, Diego Pablo Simeone waited at the end of training to have a football talk with Rodrigo Hernández (Madrid, 22 years old). Cholo is not the only coach who has succumbed to the thoughtful and analytical conversations with a midfielder who has the game stuck in his head since he was a child. Fran Alcoy, one of his coaches in his first stage at Atlético de Madrid, always remembers traveling by car with a 13-year-old brat who reasoned about the evolution of the 4-3-3 system or where superiors could be gained depending on the place the field on which the pressure will be executed.
These gatherings, over a physicist who had not yet developed to reach 190 centimeters now, were what led Alcoy to predict a player "that will be superlative" and confess "he had never trained an equal footballer "Nor that probably never meet again" with another similar. " Javi Calleja, with whom he won everything in the youth of Villarreal and with which Rodrigo exploded last season in the First Division, is another of the coaches with whom he had long conversations about the game. Many of them a posteriori, with an analysis of the parties that are not limited to the individual, but to the performance of the team as a collective.
At Atlético they talk about a soccer player with a 95% success in the pass in LaLiga, who at only 22 years old "plays with the wisdom of an old man", to explain the impact that the team has had on his return after five years in the Villarreal. The price of his return was 20 million euros plus another five for easily achievable objectives. Nothing that other big European clubs were not willing to pay. The same Florentino Perez, after the exhibition of Rodrigo last year at the Bernabéu (0-1), whispered to Fernando Roig, owner of Villarreal, his glare for which market analysts already point out as the best mixed midfielder and position of the moment with Sergio Busquets and Ngolo Kanté. By the time Perez was delighted with the virtues of the boy, he had already closed his return to Atletico.
This summer, already signed by the rojiblanco club and about to close the market, several of the entities considered as major economic powers returned to the burden before a clause of 70 million euros that they considered affordable for a player of his potential. They all met with the no for an answer.
Sited to Simeone
Nothing like what happened in the Metropolitan Wanda last September 15 to measure the impact of Rodrigo at Atlético. For anyone in the club went unnoticed the whistles that Simeone received when he decided to replace Rodrigo at the time of play with the score tied at zero against Eibar. The anger was as sonorous as surprising. Never in the Simeone era had a change generated a similar reaction among the parish. The fans know before a different player that improves the relationship of the team with the ball. When his elongated figure prevails in the swarms of disputes for the ball and relieves the game with a touch, even backwards, the applause springs from the bleachers. "He is the type of player that the team required for a long time, once the years for Tiago were passing. Tactically he is very intelligent, he likes to have the ball and give a clean exit. For me it is the great signing of Atlético this year and the one that has best fit, above Lemar even ", says Juan Vizcaíno, member of the Simeone coaching staff until last season. "He is a player who is going to be very important, like Gelson, Kalinic or Arias. When it is more coupled, it will give us a higher level ", concludes Antoine Griezmann.