Marco Asensio has received some criticism this summer for deciding he didn’t want to go to the U21 championships. It hasn’t been a big deal, just little digs here and there.
Rodri, who made the same decision, has largely escaped the negative spotlight. The difference in treatment for the two players is likely down to their club situations.
Asensio had a bad season for Real Madrid and hasn’t shown he can turn his potential into actual consistent performances, whereas Rodri did so well for Atletico Madrid that it made Manchester City pay his €70m buyout clause.
Now both players have come into the sights of Spanish coaching legend Vicente del Bosque.
The World Cup winning former Spain manager is quoted by El Confidencial as saying: “I say it with pain. That Asensio and Rodri have not gone seems a little ugly to me. It sits very badly with me. I don’t know if it’s their fault, the clubs… I did not like it. Representing the Spanish national team in any category must be something that cannot be forgotten. You have to go in a correct way. With enthusiasm. If they had been Catalans, can you imagine what would have happened?”
Del Bosque clearly believes that had the footballers been from Catalonia they’d have received a much tougher time in the Spanish media, and perhaps also from supporters of the national team.
Rodri’s break may be good news for Manchester City, and whether Pep Guardiola played a role in the decision or not, it can easily be brushed off as something which happened before he signed for them.