Manchester City midfielder Rodri says Real Madrid are not the same team without Cristiano Ronaldo, the Telegraph reports. The reigning Premier League champions defeated Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabeu in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg and will be optimistic about their chances of progressing in the premier European club football tournament. The La Liga giants will travel to the Etihad on the 18th of March for the return leg trailing 1-2 and Rodri believes the absence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can be felt in the Real Madrid team.
He claimed that City would have found the back of the net again if the game went on longer because the La Liga side was getting tired. He also mentioned that without Ronaldo in the team, Real Madrid lack a killer edge in the final third. The Portuguese played at the Santiago Bernabeu for nine seasons, scoring 450 goals from 438 appearances, winning two La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League winners trophies. Ronaldo left for Juventus in the summer of 2018.
Rodri says that Madrid were a bit flatter without Ronaldo
The Spaniard acknowledged that Ronaldo was among the two best players in the world and it was only natural that his absence was felt at Real. He claimed that Los Blancos were a bit flat without the Portuguese leading the attack, but they are still a threat.
Of course, you can tell [when someone like Ronaldo is not there]. These kind of players, of which there are basically two in the world, who tip the balance, you notice when they are not there. They [Real Madrid] are a bit flatter. But that doesn’t mean they are worse.
Rodri mentioned that the La Liga giants had imposing midfielders and then went on to reveal that City had capitalized on Real’s tired legs in the final 15 minutes of the game.
They have good midfielders and they impose on you more, although in ‘arrival’ they do less. They are still a very hard team. They dropped off physically in the last 10-15 minutes and we made the most of that.
Ilkay Gundogan had previously stated that City lacked mental strength after their Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last season. However, Rodri said that the reigning Premier League champions had passed an important test against Real and showed their resolve at the Santiago Bernabeu. But he admitted that the tie was far from done and also revealed that everyone at City was wary of the challenge posed by Real Madrid ahead of the return leg.
Everyone knows what Madrid are like, what they are capable of. There was no sense in the dressing room [that it is done]