Invincible Rodri the key to City's Champions League defence
It has been over a year since Rodri tasted defeat in a Manchester City shirt.
Last Saturday's 2-0 win over Everton made it 54 games unbeaten for the midfield lynchpin and he has lifted five trophies in that timeframe.
Tottenham's 1-0 victory on February 5, 2023, was the last time Rodri left the pitch with his shoulders slumped and as City start to hit their stride, it may be a while before he has to cope with the pain of a loss again.
Ahead of the first leg of the Citizens' Champions League last-16 tie against FC Copenhagen — where they will continue the defence of their European crown — we shine the spotlight on perhaps the best holding midfielder on the planet.
City's main man
While the likes of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden make the majority of headlines with their supreme attacking play, Rodri is arguably City's most important player.
It is no coincidence that the three Premier League defeats Pep Guardiola's side have suffered this season to Wolves, Arsenal and Aston Villa all came when the Spain international was unavailable through suspension.
Without him sitting at the base of the midfield, the English champions are simply not the same team.
As well as protecting the back-line and offering freedom to the likes of De Bruyne and Foden, Rodri is crucial to how City build attacks.
The 27-year-old has bagged six goals in all competitions this term and ranks first in the Premier League for touches, passes completed and final third passes executed.
Pair those more attack-minded numbers with the second-most possessions won in the middle third and you understand why Guardiola labelled him "an incredible, complete holding midfielder".
A true leader
Crucial to any top team vying to win trophies is having multiple on-pitch leaders, a role Rodri has fulfilled since joining from Atletico Madrid in July 2019.
Kyle Walker is the designated City captain but his Spanish colleague often acts as a skipper without the armband, setting an example to those around him with his tireless work ethic.
Guardiola said: "He pays attention and he's an incredible professional in the training sessions.
"Never since I arrived in the training sessions have I seen him a little bit flat or a little bit distracted.
"He's always focused and always encouraging his mates. He's a true, true leader on the pitch.
"He's such a competitor. He learns everything he needs for a holding midfielder, encouraging the good things, correcting the bad ones."
While City are expected to breeze past Copenhagen with minimal fuss, the onus will be on Rodri to set the tone in Denmark this evening and banish any notion of an upset.
The Danish Superliga champions beat Manchester United 4-3 on home soil in the Champions League group stage and also earned a 0-0 draw at Bayern Munich.
With gifted attackers in the form of Roony Bardghji, Diogo Goncalves and Mohamed Elyounoussi, Rodri may be required to showcase his defensive skills in a hostile European atmosphere.
But for a ridiculously consistent performer nurtured by pragmatic genius Diego Simeone at Atletico, it should be a task he completes to an exceptionally high standard.