Rodrygo: Man City can't afford to ignore Real Madrid's Champions League-loving Brazilian
When Real Madrid snagged a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on April 18, the big guns didn't score. Vinicius Jr squandered two golden opportunities. Karim Benzema scuffed one shot and blasted another over. Instead, it was who Rodrygo played hero, bagging a brace at the bridge to send Los Blancos to yet another European semi-final.
But this is hardly a new concept. Rodrygo has been at his best for Madrid in Europe for some time now. Since the 2019-20 season, the Brazilian trails only Benzema in Madrid's continental goalscoring charts with 15 — despite playing markedly fewer minutes. He has found the net against Manchester City twice, Chelsea three times and Inter to open the successful 2021-22 campaign.
It's not just in Europe where he's embraced the big occasion either, as highlighted by his match-winning double in Saturday's Copa del Rey final victory over Osasuna — leading Madrid to their first domestic cup since 2014 and earning a standing ovation from fans of both teams.
It all amounts to a player delivering on the €45 million (£40m/$48m) price tag that Madrid paid for him four years ago when he was signed from Santos as an 18-year-old. And now, he could be the difference-maker again as Madrid face off against Manchester City once more in their hunt for a second straight European Cup.