How Corona slowed Ricardo Rodriguez’s recovery

Rodriguez has settled in well at Eindhoven. Picture: EPA

How Corona slowed Ricardo Rodriguez’s recovery

Ricardo Rodriguez got off to a good start at PSV Eindhoven in February. But then he was slowed down by the corona crisis – and from July 1st the Swiss again owns AC Milan. It is uncertain what will happen next. Corona has thwarted the business games.

stefan wyss / keystone-sda

When the corona crisis paralyzed football across Europe in early March, Ricardo Rodriguez had just arrived in the 2019/20 season. After moving from Milan to PSV Eindhoven at the end of January, the 27-year-old from Zurich convinced with excellent performances in the Netherlands.

After the victory in Groningen, in the last game before the break in the championship, coach Ernest Faber said about Rodriguez: «He does the logical things on the pitch. He brings a lot of momentum and always keeps the ball in his own ranks. »

Rodriguez also sang for Swiss nursing staff:

After Rodriguez’s home debut in the 3-0 win against Willem II Tilburg a month earlier, Faber had praised the Swiss for “the natural authority with which he asserts himself in the team”. Rodriguez is one who “brings the younger to a higher level”. The appreciation is mutual. «We have a lot of talented players. Thanks to my experience, I can still teach them a lot and I feel that they can listen well, ”Rodriguez told the Dutch media.

The move has been good for Rodriguez. He hadn’t been able to draw positive attention to himself in the first half of the season. At Milan, he was demoted from regular to marginal figure within a few days. On the left defense they preferred the Frenchman Theo Hernandez to Milan. Milan had transferred almost 20 million euros to Real Madrid for this. About as much as two years earlier for Rodriguez at Wolfsburg. Rodriguez couldn’t get past Hernandez. Between September 21 and moving to the Netherlands, it was used once more. During the first half of Milan’s historic debacle against Atalanta Bergamo (0: 5).

Set for almost ten years

This situation was completely new to Rodriguez. Since his debut as a professional at FC Zurich around ten years ago, he has always played – whether at FCZ, Wolfsburg, Milan or in the national team. In Wolfsburg, he was not considered once in five games in autumn 2012. He never missed more than three games in a row unless he was injured. And since his first appearance in competitive games in 2011, he has only been on the substitute bench twice in the national team.

Always a safe bet in the national team: Ricardo Rodriguez. Picture: EPA / MTI

In January Rodriguez tried to find a new club. With regard to the European Championship finals, he needed practice to avoid losing his place in the national team. Napoli was interested, but Milan didn’t want to hand over a player to a competitor for European places. There was more or less agreement with Fenerbahce Istanbul, but restrictions in the financial fairplay prevented Rodriguez from moving to Turkey.

In the end, everyone involved was happy about the solution with PSV Eindhoven, even if only one loan agreement looked out until June 30, 2020 – with no purchase option or obligation to buy.

A definitive takeover would be made up for after a good second half of the season by Rodriguez in the Netherlands and participation in the European Championship as a regular player in the Swiss team in the summer. These are plans that have been at least thwarted by the corona crisis for the time being.

At least it is emerging that Rodriguez will be able to end the PSV Eindhoven season, even if it lasts beyond June 30th. FIFA made a recommendation last week that expiring contracts should remain valid until the effective end of the season. National contract law decides how the individual case is handled. The same signals come from the Netherlands and Italy as from almost all other countries: one follows the recommendation of the world association.

Return to Milan unlikely

Rodriguez will probably be spared a bizarre return to the substitute bench of Milan for the final phase of the season. The rest is open. From the player’s environment, it is pointed out that there is a contract with Milan until June 2021. But a future in Milan is unlikely, a return does not make much sport. Theo Hernandez is one of only four to five players from the current squad that Milan wants to rely on in the future, regardless of coach and athletic leadership.

You will hardly see Rodriguez in Milan dress.

And the listed takeover by PSV Eindhoven? The starting situation has changed in the meantime. It is uncertain whether PSV still has the financial strength to afford Rodriguez after the corona crisis. An envisaged scenario was a barter deal: Eindhoven takes over Rodriguez, in return the PSV defender and captain Denzel Dumfries moves to Milan. But Dumfries’ market value is significantly higher than that of Rodriguez.

At Milan, they hoped that the value of the Swiss would increase again thanks to the European Championship finals. The postponement of the EM has dashed this hope. Rodriguez has a contract with Milan, he has better prospects with PSV Eindhoven. But because of the corona crisis, he now somehow threatens to fall between the chair and the bench. (abu / sda)


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