Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid's new manager, has asked the club to complete the signing of Rodrigo Moreno, according to Spanish programme, El Larguero.
Valencia's Rodrigo for Real Madrid
The report on SER states that the interest in the Valencia striker by the former Spain coach follows him being impressed enough to take him to Russia in the first place, and despite the country's failings, this admiration has not changed. Lopetegui is aware that Karim Benzema could well be on his way to Serie A side Naples and, with Cristiano Ronaldo having already left for Italy, is pushing for the arrival of Rodrigo, something Valencia have been informed of.
Madrid are not the first team to notice Rodrigo's excellent performances in LaLiga last season. Both Atlético Madrid and Napoli have reportedly considered recruiting the Spaniard. Given the interest in the striker, Valencia's director Mateu Alemany has put a price on his services of 120 million euros. Rodrigo himself chose to clear up doubts about his future when he met up with the national team:
"My plan is to continue with Valencia. We had a great season, and we have a major challenge ahead with the Champions League. I feel important and am happy there. I've been saying it for months and I maintain this."
Madrid and Rodrigo have history
Rodrigo has first-hand knowledge of Real Madrid. The forward spent time with Los Blancos' youth team after coming through the younger categories at Celta Vigo. At Madrid he progressed to the Castilla side and was then transferred to Benfica in 2010. After a brief stint at Bolton he returned to Portugal and in 2014 signed for Valencia. At a Mestalla club looking for a return to the top echelons of LaLiga after some difficult years, 2017/18 saw their striker grab 19 goals and provide seven assists in 44 games.
Lopetegui and Rodrigo both share Jorge Mendes as their agent, and this link may be key to the Champions League winners starting to fill the void left by Cristiano.