Ricardo Rodríguez (footballer)

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This article is about the Swiss footballer. For the Spanish football coach, see Ricardo Rodríguez (football coach).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Rodríguez and the second or maternal family name is Araya.
Ricardo Rodríguez
Ricardo Rodríguez (football).JPG
Rodríguez with Switzerland in 2014
Personal information
Full name Ricardo Iván Rodríguez Araya[1]
Date of birth (1992-08-25) 25 August 1992 (age 22)
Place of birth Zürich, Switzerland
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Left back
Club information
Current team
VfL Wolfsburg
Number 34
Youth career
2001–2002 FC Schwamendingen
2002–2010 Zürich
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2012 Zürich 35 (2)
2012– VfL Wolfsburg 83 (8)
National team
2009 Switzerland U17 5 (3)
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 10 (4)
2010–2011 Switzerland U19 15 (5)
2012 Switzerland U23 3 (0)
2011– Switzerland 27 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 26 October 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 14 October 2014

Ricardo Iván Rodríguez Araya (born 25 August 1992) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a left back for VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

Born to a Spanish father and a Chilean mother, Rodríguez began his professional career at local club FC Zürich in 2010, having spent eight years in the youth setup. After breaking through into the first team at Zürich, Rodríguez was sold to VfL Wolfsburg in January 2012 for £7.5 million.[2] He has been described as an accomplished defender and is noted for his strong heading ability.[3] He has also become known for his ability to deliver pinpoint crosses.[4][5][6] Rodríguez is also noted for his speciality in dead ball situations and for penalty taking abilities, emerging as Wolfsburg's first-choice penalty taker.[7][8]

Rodríguez has earned caps at every level of the Swiss national team setup, winning the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2009. A full international for Switzerland since 2011, Rodriguez has earned over 25 caps for the country. He was part of the Swiss team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and later that year was voted Swiss Footballer of the Year.[9]

Club career[edit]

FC Zürich[edit]

Rodríguez began playing football at the highly regarded youth club FC Schwamendingen in 2001 before joining the youth setup of FC Zürich as an 11-year-old in 2002.[3] He was promoted to the senior squad in 2009 at age 16, making the bench for Zürich's 2–3 defeat to NK Maribor in the first leg of their third qualifying round Champions League tie on 29 July 2009.[3][10]

He made his Zürich debut as a 17-year-old in the 25th round of the Swiss Super League on 21 March 2010, replacing the injured Hannu Tihinen in the first-half of the 2–0 win over Bellinzona.[11] His full debut came in the Zürich Derby against Grasshoppers on 5 April, playing the entire 3–2 win for the hosts.[12]

He made only his second start in the first match of the Swiss Super League season on 20 July 2010, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–3 defeat to rivals FC Basel.[13] On 28 April 2011, he scored his first professional goal for the club, opening the scoring for the hosts as they ran out 3–0 winners over Neuchâtel Xamax at the Letzigrund.[14]

Rodríguez made his European debut in the first-leg of their third qualifying round tie against Standard Liège on 27 July 2011.[15][16] He played the entire match and provided the cross for fellow Zürich youth team graduate Admir Mehmedi as the Swiss secured a 1–1 draw at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne in Belgium.[17] In the second leg, Rodríguez missed from an open goal from close range but Zürich won 1–0 to earn a spot in the play-off round against Bayern Munich.[18] He played the entirety of both play-off matches against Bayern,[19][20] but the Swiss side fell 0–3 on aggregate and dropped into the Europa League.[21]

On 26 October 2011, Rodríguez scored his second goal for the club, netting his side's second from the penalty spot, in a 2–0 win over FC Thun.[22] The club's final Super League match before the winter break on 10 December 2011, turned out to be Rodríguez's last in a Zürich shirt, playing the entire 1–1 draw with FC Sion.[23] On 11 January 2012, Zürich officials announced that the club had accepted a bid for Rodríguez by German side Wolfsburg and that he was on the verge of completing the transfer, subject to a medical.[24] Despite being sold mid-way through the season, Rodríguez was voted as the Fans' Player of the Season on 4 June 2012, ahead of Oliver Buff and Pedro Henrique.[25]

VfL Wolfsburg[edit]

Early career[edit]

VfL Wolfsburg purchased Rodríguez as a 19-year-old on 13 January 2012 for £7.5 million with the player signing a four and a half year deal.[8][26] He quickly asserted himself into the first-team lineup, making his Bundesliga debut the next day against 1. FC Köln, a 1–0 victory for the Wolves.[27] Rodríguez went on to play every game of the season from that point on without being substituted, becoming a favorite on the left of the defense for manager Felix Magath.[3]

Through the first ten league games of the following campaign, Rodríguez was once again an ever-present in the squad, featuring in all the outings, starting eight.[28] But Magath was sacked after a poor run of form in the league and when Lorenz-Günther Köstner was installed as interim manager, the more experienced Marcel Schäfer was preferred at left back.[3] Once Dieter Hecking was appointed manager though, Rodríguez won his place back in the first team.[3]

2013–14 season[edit]

On 9 November 2013, he scored his first goal for Wolfsburg, from a direct free kick in a home Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund.[29] The match ended in a 2–1 win for Wolfsburg, although they were losing at half-time.[30] His second goal for Wolfsburg came from the penalty spot against Hamburg on 29 November, earning his side a 1–1 draw.[31] He opened the scoring in their Bundesliga match on 14 December, curling the ball past keeper Sven Ulreich, as Wolfsburg won 3–1.[32]

He finished the 2013–14 season with five league goals, in addition to nine assists.[33][8] He failed to make it into the Bundesliga Team of the Season, but was included in a list of the Best Defenders for the 2013–14 campaign.[34] Rodríguez's nine assists also meant that he created more goals than any other full-back in Europe.[5] His impressive displays during the season included 2.3 key passes per game, the same number as Andrea Pirlo, the two-time reigning Serie A Footballer of the Year, and 2.6 successful dribbles per game, more than Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d'Or winner.[35]

2014–15 season[edit]

He scored his first ever goal in European football for Wolfsburg on 18 September 2014, netting directly from a free-kick after having previously scored an own-goal in a 4–1 defeat to English side Everton.[36] Three days later, Rodriguez scored twice more for Wolfsburg, once from the penalty spot and a volley from a Kevin De Bruyne corner, as Wolfsburg defeated Bayer Leverkusen 4–1.[37] He scored his third league goal of the season against Werder Bremen on 27 September, converting a De Bruyne cross to put Wolfsburg up 1–0 in an eventual 2–1 victory.[38]

In October 2014, Rodríguez was ruled out for a number of weeks with a troubled patella tendon and thigh.[39] On 31 October, his agent, Roger Wittman, confirmed that Rodríguez and Wolfsburg had opened contract talks to extend his current deal beyond 2016.[40]

International career[edit]

Rodríguez marking Lionel Messi in a friendly against Argentina in 2012

In 2009, he was part of the Swiss U17 team who won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.[7] His first goal of the tournament came in Switzerland's second group game against Japan on 27 October 2009, netting the winning goal as the match ended 4–3.[41] He opened the scoring for the Swiss in the 35th minute against Germany in the Round of 16 as Switzerland eventually won 4–3 in added extra time.[42] In the semi-finals against Colombia, he scored Switzerland's final goal of their 4–0 win to reach their first final of a FIFA competition since a 3–0 loss to Uruguay in the 1924 Olympics.[43] He played the entire final against Nigeria on 15 November, helping Switzerland to a 1–0 victory to become just the third European nation to lift the trophy.[44]

Rodríguez made his debut for Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifying match against Wales on 7 October 2011, replacing Xherdan Shaqiri in the second half of the 0–2 loss.[45][46][4] In his full debt four days later, Rodríguez played the entire match as the Swiss defeated Montenegro 2–0 to end their qualification campaign on a high, despite missing out on a playoff spot to the Balkan side.[47][48] In a friendly match against the Netherlands on 11 November, he played the entire match as the Swiss kept a clean sheet in Amsterdam.[49]

He played all three matches for Switzerland at the 2012 Olympics, in which they were eliminated in the group stage.[50]

Rodríguez featured in nine of ten World Cup qualifying matches for the Swiss, totaling 810 minutes,[51] as they qualified for the World Cup with a game to spare, thanks to a 2–1 win over Albania on 11 October 2013.[52][53] On 13 May 2014, Rodríguez was named in Switzerland's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[54] In their opening group game against Ecuador on 15 June, he took the corner which was headed by Admir Mehmedi for the equaliser, as well as crossing for Haris Seferović to score the winner in a 2–1 victory.[55] During the tournament finals in Brazil, he averaged 5 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game, earning plaudits for his strong tackling as well as his ability to read the game.[8]

Playing style[edit]

Rodríguez is known for being equally adept at defending as he is going forward.[56] Experts consider him as an accomplished defender and note his strong heading ability.[3] As well as considering him a continual attacking threat and noting his exceptional stamina and pace which allow for his constant, buccaneering runs up the wing.[3][8][5] Conversely, he has been criticised for giving too much room to opposition attackers, taking up poor positioning and lacking in defensive discipline,[8] and other analysts have criticised his concentration.[57]

He has become known for his pinpoint crossing and accurate left foot and has been compared to Everton and England left back Leighton Baines.[4][5][6] He is also noted for his speciality in dead ball situations and for penalty taking abilities, emerging as Wolfsburg's first-choice penalty taker during the 2013–14 season.[7][8] In 2014, his manager Dieter Hecking praised Rodríguez as "the best left-back in the Bundesliga".[40]

Personal life[edit]

Rodríguez was born in Zürich to a Spanish father and a Chilean mother.[7] As a result, he is fluent in Spanish and holds Spanish and Chilean nationalities.[58][7][3] He is the younger brother of FC St. Gallen midfielder Roberto Rodríguez and the older brother of FC Zürich and Switzerland U19 midfielder Francisco Rodríguez.[8]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 26 October 2014[59]
Club Season League National Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
FC Zürich 2009–10 Swiss Super League 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
2010–11 Super League 13 1 1 0 0 0 14 1
2011–12 Super League 16 1 1 0 9 0 26 1
Total 35 2 2 0 9 0 46 2
VfL Wolfsburg 2011–12 Bundesliga 17 0 0 0 0 0 17 0
2012–13 Bundesliga 24 0 3 0 0 0 27 0
2013–14 Bundesliga 34 5 4 2 0 0 38 7
2014–15 Bundesliga 8 3 1 0 1 1 10 4
Total 83 8 8 2 1 1 92 11
Career total 118 10 10 2 10 1 138 13
 
Switzerland national team
Year Apps Goals
2011 4 0
2012 7 0
2013 7 0
2014 9 0
Total[59] 27 0

Honours[edit]

International[edit]

Switzerland

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ricardo Rodriguez wechselt definitiv zum VfL Wolfsburg". FC Zürich (in German). 13 January 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sky Sports Scout – Ricardo Rodriguez". Sky Sports. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ricardo Rodriguez – Profile". FIFA. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "How full-backs are making this World Cup brilliant". Four Four Two. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Scouting Report for Chelsea Transfer-Target Ricardo Rodriguez". Bleacher Report. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Ricardo Rodriguez". Bundesliga. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Everything you need to know about... Ricardo Rodriguez". Four Four Two. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rodriguez wins Player of the Year Award". Bundesliga. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Pavlovič puts Maribor in command". UEFA. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Zürich vs. Bellinzona 2–0". Soccerway. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Zürich vs. Grasshopper 3–2". Soccerway. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Basel vs. Zürich 3–2". Soccerway. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Zürich vs. Neuchâtel Xamax 3–0". Soccerway. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ricardo Rodriguez". UEFA. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Standard Liège vs. Zürich 1–1". Soccerway. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "González goal saves the day for Standard". UEFA. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mehmedi the hero as Zürich march on". UEFA. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Bayern Munich vs. Zürich 2–0". Soccerway. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Zürich vs. Bayern Munich 0–1". Soccerway. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Gomez helps Bayern complete job against Zürich". UEFA. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "Thun vs. Zürich 0–2". Soccerway. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Zürich vs. Sion 1–1". Soccerway. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
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  25. ^ a b "Fanclub Letzi: Rodriguez ist Spieler der Saison". FC Zürich (in German). 4 June 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
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  33. ^ "Scorer". Bundesliga. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "Team of the Season: Defenders". Bundesliga. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  35. ^ "World Cup Players to Know: Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez". Grantland. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "Everton marked their Europa League return with a dominant victory over Germans Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.". BBC Sport. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  37. ^ "Wolfsburg cruise against 10-man Bayer Leverkusen". ESPNFC. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
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  39. ^ "Injuries trouble Wolfsburg, Kramer returns for Gladbach". DW. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  40. ^ a b "Wolfsburg open contract talks with Man Utd target Ricardo Rodriguez". ESPNFC. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
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  42. ^ "Switzerland 4:3 Germany". FIFA. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
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  44. ^ "Switzerland lift Under-17 World Cup". UEFA. 15 November 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "Euro 2012: Wales 2–0 Switzerland". BBC Sport. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  46. ^ "Wales vs. Switzerland 2–0". Soccerway. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  47. ^ "Switzerland end on a high against Montenegro". UEFA. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  48. ^ "Much-changed Montenegro are beaten by Switzerland". The Guardian. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  49. ^ "Netherlands draw blank against Switzerland". UEFA. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  50. ^ "Mexico into men's Olympic football quarterfinals". ESPN. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  51. ^ "R. Rodriguez – WC Qualification Europe – 2014 Brazil – Minutes played". Soccerway. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
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  53. ^ "World Cup qualifier: Switzerland book World Cup spot with 2–1 win over Albania". Sky Sports. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  54. ^ "World Cup 2014: Pajtim Kasami on standby for Switzerland". BBC. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  55. ^ "Switzerland 2–1 Ecuador". BBC Sport. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  56. ^ "Switzerland vs Ecuador: All the stats, facts and team news for the first game in group E". Daily Mail. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  57. ^ "Ricardo Rodriguez". Sky Sports. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  58. ^ "Portraits: Ricardo Rodríguez". FC Zürich (in German). Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  59. ^ a b "Ricardo Rodrgiuez". Soccerway. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  60. ^ "Swiss take their place in history". FIFA. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  61. ^ "Wolfsburger Ricardo Rodriguez Schweizer Fußballer des Jahres [Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez Swiss Player of the Year]". Goal.com (in German). 2 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 

External links[edit]