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Simeone benches Rodrigo amid Manchester City link reports

Simeone benches Rodrigo amid Manchester City link reports

Kiko Huesca

EFE

Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone dropped the young Spaniard for the first time in nearly three months, with some connecting it to rumours.

Atlético Madrid's Rodrigo Hernández has been dropped to the bench for Saturday's LaLiga clash with Valladolid. It was reported earlier this week that Pep Guardiola is keen on the player and that Manchester City have already made contact with the Spanish club in an attempt to take him to the Premier League. Clearly, many see this decision by Diego Simeone to exclude the midfielder being linked to the possibly unsettling rumours.

Simeone benches in-demand Rodrigo

Rodrigo has impressed this season as Atleti are on the verge of a second-place finish (only the most unlikely of events would see them finish first or third), and it has been almost three months since he did not start a game for the rojiblancos, in the Madrid derby. In that period he has missed just one game, against Alavés, due to the accumulation of yellow cards.

It is very possible, however, that the rumours potentially catching the player's eye have had nothing to do with Simeone's plans for today's game. Indeed, in training last Tuesday, the one leading up to the midweek game against Valencia, Cholo tried two midfield formations. In one, Rodrigo was accompanied by Saúl, with Koke and Lemar on either side of them. In the other, Thomas started in place of Rodrigo. And it is that second option that was selected for Saturday's game.

Atlético Madrid's Rodrigo Hernandez leaps highest against Valencia.

Atlético Madrid's Rodrigo Hernandez leaps highest against Valencia.

In just his first year, Rodrigo has become a key player for Simeone, playing more time than most. Only Griezmann and Saúl have been involved more. It would take an incredible turnaround for Atlético to allow the 22-year-old Spaniard to leave.