Atletico Madrid, Clubs, Rodri, Spanish Primera División, Story

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Rodrigo Hernandez believes new club Atletico Madrid have the “best squad in La Liga” and can “aspire to win everything.”

Rodrigo returned to his boyhood club from Villarreal after his €20 million release clause was triggered, with Atletico also having made a €70m move for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar and been boosted by Antoine Griezmann’s decision to stay.

And with Real Madrid having lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta having left Barcelona, he told reporters that Atletico now had a better squad than either of their two main competitors.

“The club have grown a lot in the five years since I left,” he said. “Atletico aspire to win everything these days.

“This club has become one of the five or six best in Europe. We go for everything, and for me this is the best squad in La Liga and we will enjoy all the competitions.”

Released by Atletico five years ago for being too small, Rodrigo joined Villarreal and impressed so much last season that he earned a full Spain debut in March.

“I am very happy, not just for returning home, as I always hoped to do,” he said. “When the chance came I did not have to think for long.

“I want now to give my best. It is a big leap forward for me, and I will give everything for this shirt and hopefully win trophies, which is why I am here.”

Rodrigo added that he was “as excited as possible” about inheriting the Atletico No. 14 shirt previously worn by club captain Gabi and before that by Diego Simeone, now the club’s coach.

“It is a very important number for this club, the values of Simeone as coach and now manager — courage, battling qualities,” he said.

“Gabi was key for the successes of this club and leaves an important gap, not just in play but in leadership, which is something I still have to learn. I’m really looking forward now to wearing this jersey.”

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