Rodrygo: “I don’t like playing as a number 9 but I do it because I believe in Ancelotti”
The Brazilian forward was asked about his new role at Madrid, his relationship with Ancelotti, Kylian Mbappé, Jude Bellingham and Endrick.
Real Madrid winger Rodrygo Goes spoke to Spanish radio station Cadena COPE where he talked about various aspects of life at Real Madrid, including playing in a new role, meeting Endrick, the impact of Jude Bellingham in the side and Kylian Mbappé's future.
This season, with the unexpected departure of Karim Benzema from the side, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has decided to move away from his tried and tested 4-3-3 system and instead go with a narrower setup, one that accommodates Jude Bellingham but forces the Brazilian pair of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr to play a more central role.
This change of position in the Real Madrid side is something that Rodrygo has spoken about before, and he was asked about it once again while on Spanish radio, saying that “it was difficult for me to play in the new position. I have adapted and now the manager gives me more freedom to go to the wing and those games have been a bit better with more freedom to play. It’s a bit tough for me to play as a striker, but if the manager thinks I can do it then I trust him and I’m going to keep doing it.”
‘The manager knows I don’t like playing as a number 9′
Rodrygo and Ancelotti have a special relationship, with the player openly declaring the respect and love he has for his coach on multiple occasions. The rocky start to the season for Rodrygo has never been a cause for concern for Ancelotti, who has stuck by the player and continued to give him minutes despite the criticism. “He’s really important to me”, said Rodrygo when asked about the Italian being a father-like figure, “at the start of the season things didn’t go well for me but he always supported me and I have to thank him for that.”
Rumours have circulated that the current Real Madrid boss is due to sign for the Brazilian National Team once his second stint in the Spanish capital comes to an end, although Rodrygo claims that he has “no idea” about the situation: “we don’t know anything about what’s going to happen. We always want to have [Ancelotti], whether that’s in Madrid or for the National Team”.
Regarding his new position, Rodrygo, who recently signed a new deal with Real Madrid, spoke about it when on a previous call-up with Brazil. The comments caused some media stir, and as a result he was questioned about whether Ancelotti too had anything to say: “sometimes we say one thing and another comes out. It’s complicated. The manager knows I don’t like playing as a ‘9′, but I do it for my team and for him as well, because I believe in him. He knows it and we don’t have problems [about it] anymore.”
When asked where he would like to play given the choice, the forward said “as a playmaker and then on the wing” before adding that “it’s just I don’t like the number ‘9′ role”... “it’s an opportunity and an honour for me, but my characteristics don’t fit well for it. I don’t like playing with my back to goal, I like to participate in the play and as a ‘9′ you don’t get as many touches of the ball. Vini and I are adapting to the situation.”
AS journalist Joe Brennan gives his take on Real Madrid’s tactical switch:
‘Phenomenon’ Bellingham has ‘a very good relationship’ with Rodrygo
Jude Bellingham, the man of the moment in the Spanish capital, has been a revelation since his arrival. Currently on international duty, the player who Rodrygo calls “a good guy” as well as “a phenomenon” is currently not deemed fit to play by his club, but it seems his national team doctors are more hopeful. “Everything he does right now is coming off”, says Rodrygo, who also declares that the two have “a very good relationship”, despite the fact that “he doesn’t speak Spanish well and I only speak a little English”.
Real Madrid currently sit 2nd in LaLiga, 2 points behind surprise leaders, Girona, who Rodrygo calls “very good”. “The league is difficult, as always”, adds Rodrygo, before admitting that “points were dropped” in the recent 0-0 against Rayo. “We have a lot of games ahead of us”, he continued, “we want to be champions”.
Finding the net has been something of an issue for Rodrygo, with the player not reaching anything like the scoring numbers of past seasons. However, he refuses to put a number on things, saying he “never speaks about things like that” as “it doesn’t give me good luck”.
‘Of course’ Rodrygo wants Mbappé at Real Madrid
It wasn’t long before the questions about his future Real Madrid teammate, Endrick, who is currently shining for Palmeiras. Rodrygo highlighted his qualities, saying that he is “dangerous, very strong and quick” as well as labelling him “hugely explosive”. He also pointed out that the two “always speak” and that the Palmeiras forward “sometimes asks about things [in Spain]”.
On new signings, the inevitable name of Kylian Mbappé arose, a player who Rodrygo would “of course” like to sign, “but not just Mbappé”. On the possibility of it happening, “you’d have to ask the manager or president”, he said.