- Ricardo Rodriguez remains essential in the selection, despite difficulties in club
- He was behind the opening goal against Bulgaria
- Switzerland is “less predictable than other teams,” he said
Ricardo Rodriguez is going through a period of turbulence at the club. Last season, AC Milan loaned him to PSV Eindhoven, but the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow him to win. Transferred to Torino to revive, he found himself stuck in the bottom of the standings. Fortunately, the situation is very different in the Swiss team where the left-hander appears to be taulier, from the top of his 74 caps. Able to evolve as a left-back as a full-back, or on the side of a three-way defense, Rodriguez is an important element within the Born.
Switzerland started their run in Group C of the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar ™ with a convincing 3-1 victory over Bulgaria. Rodriguez sent a millimeter center to Breel Embolo, for the opener. On the sidelines of the March 28 St. Gallen match against Lithuania, the Zurich resident answers questions from FIFA.com.
Ricardo Rodriguez, with more than 70 selections, you are one of the most experienced internationals, within the Born. How has your status changed over time?
I was first called when I was 18. Already physiologically, I have aged; it’s obvious. In return, over time, I have acquired experience and maturity. I take my responsibilities and I try to justify by my performances the confidence of the coach and my team-mates.
Qualifying for the Euro was a success. What aspects should you focus on when traveling to the World Cup?
We must continue to focus on our strengths. Our goal is to impose our game, regardless of the opponent, to progress, to be effective and to succeed together. We are less predictable than other teams because our game is based more on the collective than on individualities.
Ricardo Rodriguez’s achievements
- Winner of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009 with Switzerland
- Winner of the German Cup 2015 with VfL Wolfsburg
- Swiss player of the year 2014
- Two participations in the World Cup (2014 and 2018)
What are the sectors on which you still have to work to string together good results in the coming months?
We are on the right path. From now on, we must respond present in important moments, in order to optimize our performance. We recently proved in the Nations League that we can stand up to the big teams. These services must continue to serve as a benchmark.
How do you judge Italy, your opponent in Group C, and a country where you have been playing for several seasons?
In terms of the game, the tactical aspect and defensive rigor are essential characteristics in Serie A. For the rest, I particularly appreciate the quality of life, the gastronomy, the culture and the climate.
Should we expect a duel between Italy and Switzerland for first place in Group C?
Italy are favorites, but we have nothing to envy them. We make no secret of our ambitions. Italy has changed a lot in recent years. She was able to integrate very promising players. Tactically, it is evolving at a remarkable level. She scored a lot of goals during the Euro qualifiers and she remains on a good streak. We know what remains to be done.
What kind of matches do you expect in these World Cup qualifiers?
It’s a new campaign that begins. We need to find our feet, avoiding making mistakes. I am convinced that we can get off to a good start as long as we focus on ourselves. However, you should know that we will face opponents that are difficult to maneuver.
As you approach your 30s, what are your goals for your end of career?
You have to be attentive to your body to maintain it properly. In general, when you approach this important turning point, you know that you need to take more care of yourself.