Why Rodrigo left Valencia for a simpler life with Leeds United at Elland Road

Few if any players have cited a desire for the simple life when signing for Leeds United, but Rodrigo's time at Valencia threw up issues that made Elland Road look sedate by comparison.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:42 pm
NATIONS LEAGUE - Leeds United striker Rodrigo in action against England in the competition he and Spain will grace this week against Germany and Ukraine. Pic: Getty

The Spanish international forward spoke with press today to preview the Nations League game against Germany on Thursday and was happy to explain the reasons for his departure from Valencia.

After six years at Mestalla Stadium, the 29-year-old's affection for the people who make the club great had not waned but he was still more than ready to move on to pastures new and very different.

Leeds went out of their way to make that happen, forking out a club record £27m with add-ons for an attacker they believe fits perfectly into Marcelo Bielsa's system.

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The move, confirmed on Saturday morning to the delight of Whites worldwide, brought to an end a period of ups and downs at Valencia, punctuated with problems on and off the field. As much as Leeds have factors in their favour to attract potential new signings, like the profile and reputation of head coach Marcelo Bielsa and the club's stature and history, all of which played a part in enticing Rodrigo back to the Premier League, he was clearly tired of issues that took his mind and his energy away from his game.

"There are situations that end up wearing out," he said at today's press conference.

“Time wears out. It has been six years. We had changes of coaches, I had injuries, things that in Valencia are complicated."

Los Che have made it clear they need to sell players to balance the books, something that greased the wheels of Leeds' attempts to bring the Brazilian-born attacker to Yorkshire. And in a compliment to the way Leeds United is being run as a club, Rodrigo saw them as a potential employer who are 'doing things very well.' It's all a far cry from the League One days and events associated with previous regimes.

"The club had to find a way out for many footballers, this is part of football," he said.

"It was time to seek a new challenge. Since the possibility of Leeds came up, I was very attracted to it. Playing in the Premier League, working with Bielsa. I go to a club with history, which is doing things very well. In recent years, being one of the captains of Valencia, you end up living problem after problem. I wanted to enjoy football, train and think about playing."

Spain face Germany in Stuttgart on Thursday before a game at home to Ukraine on Sunday.