Rodrigo (footballer, born 1991)

Rodrigo Moreno Machado (Spanish pronunciation: [roˈðɾiɣo moˈɾeno maˈtʃaðo]; born 6 March 1991), known as Rodrigo, is a professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger for Premier League club Leeds United and the Spain national team.

Rodrigo playing for Spain at the 2018 World Cup
Personal information
Full name Rodrigo Moreno Machado[1]
Date of birth (1991-03-06) 6 March 1991 (age 30)[2]
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil[2]
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Position(s) Striker, winger
Club information
Current team
Leeds United
Number 20
Youth career
2002 Flamengo
2003–2005 Ureca
2005–2009 Celta
2009 Real Madrid
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009 Real Madrid C 4 (1)
2009–2010 Real Madrid B 18 (5)
2010–2015 Benfica 68 (27)
2010–2011Bolton Wanderers (loan) 17 (1)
2014–2015Valencia (loan) 31 (3)
2015–2020 Valencia 141 (35)
2020– Leeds United 26 (7)
National team
2009–2010 Spain U19 11 (6)
2011 Spain U20 6 (3)
2011–2013 Spain U21 16 (15)
2012 Spain U23 4 (0)
2014– Spain 25 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:15, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 October 2020

He started his career with Real Madrid, appearing solely for its reserve teams. In 2010 he signed with Benfica with whom he won four titles, most notably the domestic treble in the 2013–14 season. He then spent six years at Valencia, scoring 59 goals in 220 games and winning the Copa del Rey in 2019. In 2020, he joined Leeds United.

Born in Brazil, Rodrigo represented Spain at youth level, and in 2013 he won the European Championship with the under-21 team. The following year, he earned his first cap for the senior side, appearing for them at the 2018 World Cup.

Club career

Early career

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigo moved to Spain in his early teens, settling in Galicia and started playing organised football with RC Celta de Vigo. In 2009, aged 18, he moved to Real Madrid to complete his development.[4]

Only a few weeks after arriving, Rodrigo started playing as a senior with the C team. Shortly after, he was promoted to Real Madrid Castilla in Segunda División B, making his debut with the latter on 29 November 2009 in a 4–3 away win against UD Lanzarote (29 minutes played).[5]


On 31 July 2010, Rodrigo signed a five-year contract with S.L. Benfica for a reported fee of €6 million. Real Madrid had an option to re-buy the player for €12 million during the next two seasons; however, after Fábio Coentrão's transfer to the Spanish club, both parties agreed to cancel the buyback clause.[6]

The following month, Rodrigo joined Bolton Wanderers of the Premier League on a season-long loan.[7][8] He made his official debut in a League Cup fixture at Burnley on 21 September, starting in a 0–1 away loss.[9]

Rodrigo first appeared in the league for Bolton on 23 October 2010, coming on as a substitute for Lee Chung-yong midway through the second half of a 1–1 away draw with Wigan Athletic.[10] On 5 January 2011, against the same opponent, he scored his only goal of the campaign, with the game ending with the same result.[11]

Rodrigo lining up for Benfica in 2012

Returning to Benfica for 2011–12, Rodrigo played 38 competitive matches in his first year and scored 16 goals, including the opener in the season's Taça da Liga final against Gil Vicente FC, which his team won for the fourth year in a row (2–1).[12] On 2 January 2013, he combined with Óscar Cardozo for five goals in a 6–0 home defeat of C.D. Aves in the fifth round of the Taça de Portugal.[13]

On 31 January 2014, Benfica (and Benfica Stars Fund) sold 100% of Rodrigo's economic rights to a private company, Meriton Capital Limited, owned by Peter Lim, for €30 million, plus another potential €10 million on performance-related bonuses[14]– he remained with them until the end of the campaign.[15][16] On 10 April he scored a brace in a 2–0 home win against AZ Alkmaar in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, which took the hosts through to the last-four stage 3–0 on aggregate.[17]

Rodrigo scored Benfica's first goal in a 2–0 final victory over Rio Ave F.C. in the league cup, and was subsequently voted Player of the match as the Lisbon side won the competition for the fifth time in seven years.[18] On 14 May he had his penalty shootout attempt saved by Sevilla FC's Beto, in an eventual Europa League final loss;[19][20] in total, he contributed 18 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions[21] to win an unprecedented treble of Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and League Cup.[22][23]


Rodrigo in April 2015, ahead of Valencia's derby against Levante

On 23 July 2014, Rodrigo moved back to Spain, after agreeing to a one-season loan deal with Valencia CF.[24] Although his economic rights were owned by Lim, a loan was arranged to take him and André Gomes to Valencia due to Lim's purchase of the latter club.[25]

Rodrigo made his debut for the Che on 23 August 2014, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 away draw against Sevilla.[26] He scored his first La Liga goal on 22 September, netting the last of a 3–0 away win over Getafe CF through a penalty, but was later sent off;[27] he was dismissed the following 30 May for striking Rayo Vallecano's Toño, and banned for three games by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.[28]

On 15 June 2015, Benfica and Valencia announced they had reached an agreement on Rodrigo's federative rights, and he signed a four-year contract with the latter until 30 June 2019, for a reported fee of €30 million.[29][30] After moderate returns in his first three seasons at the Mestalla Stadium, he scored a career-best 16 goals (19 in all competitions) in 2017–18 as the Marcelino García Toral-led team qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League;[31] in late November 2017, he was rewarded with a new deal through 2022 with a reported release clause of €120 million.[32]

On 29 January 2019, Rodrigo scored a second-half hat-trick – including two goals in injury time – as the hosts defeated Getafe 3–1 in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, winning the tie 3–2 on aggregate.[33] He also scored in the decisive match, a 2–1 defeat of FC Barcelona at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.[34]

On 17 September 2019, Rodrigo scored the only goal of the match in the first Champions League group stage fixture, providing Valencia's first ever win against Chelsea in the club's history.[35][36][37] On 10 December, he repeated the feat in a 1–0 away win over AFC Ajax to reach the knockout phase.[38]

Leeds United

On 29 August 2020, Leeds United announced the signing of Rodrigo on a four-year deal for a club-record fee of £27 million (€30 million).[39][40] He made his Premier League debut for them in the first match of the season against reigning champions Liverpool on 12 September, coming on as a substitute in the 4–3 defeat at Anfield.[41] Four days later, he made his first start in a 1–1 draw with League One side Hull City in the EFL Cup (penalty shootout loss).[42]

Rodrigo scored his first goal on 3 October 2020, in a 1–1 home league draw against Manchester City.[43] Having missed several games through a groin injury at the beginning of 2021,[44] he was used sparingly by Marcelo Bielsa upon his return before hitting strong form at the end of the campaign, scoring his first brace for the club on 15 May in a 4–0 away victory over Burnley.[45] He finished his first year with seven goals, four of them coming in the final four fixtures.[46]

International career

Rodrigo competed for Spain internationally, starting with the under-19s which he helped to the second position in the 2010 UEFA European Championship by netting two goals, including one in the final against France. He then appeared in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, helping the national team to the quarter-finals with his three goals.

Rodrigo made his debut for the Spanish under-21 side on 1 September 2011, scoring three times in Georgia in the 2013 European Championship qualifiers (7–2 rout).[47] On 21 March 2013, in a friendly against Norway, he scored his 13th goal in the category to help to the 5–2 victory in Toledo, thus becoming the highest goal scorer after surpassing Óscar García's record which had stood since 1992.[48]

Rodrigo was included in Spain's squad at the 2012 Summer Olympics,[49] appearing in two games in an eventual group stage exit in London. On 3 October 2014, he was one of 23 players selected by Vicente del Bosque for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches against Slovakia and Luxembourg,[50] making his debut in the latter game by replacing Diego Costa in the 82nd minute and assisting the fourth and last goal for Juan Bernat.[51]

On 6 October 2017, nearly three years after his first cap, Rodrigo marked his second by starting and scoring the first goal in a 3–0 home defeat of Albania in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, in Alicante.[52] He was then included in the squad for the finals in Russia,[53] making his debut in the competition on 20 June when he replaced Costa for the final minute of the 1–0 group stage win against Iran.[54]

Personal life

Rodrigo moved to Spain at a young age when his father, Brazilian footballer Adalberto, opened a football school in Vigo alongside 1994 FIFA World Cup winner Mazinho. He is a lifelong friend of the latter's sons Thiago Alcântara and Rafinha, who were raised in footballing terms at FC Barcelona and also represented Spain and Brazil respectively, and was erroneously reported to be their cousin.[55][56]

Career statistics


As of match played 23 May 2021[57][58]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Other Continental Total
Real Madrid B 2009–10 Segunda División B 185185
Bolton Wanderers 2010–11 Premier League 1713010211
Benfica 2011–12 Primeira Liga 2293244913816
2012–13 Primeira Liga 20762311013911
2013–14 Primeira Liga 26115231944318
Total 682714610628612045
Valencia 2014–15 La Liga 31311324
2015–16 La Liga 2524293387
2016–17 La Liga 19522217
2017–18 La Liga 3716734419
2018–19 La Liga 338751125115
2019–20 La Liga 2741162347
Total 1723822140026722059
Leeds United 2020–21 Premier League 2671010287
Career total 3017840201265413407117


As of match played 13 October 2020[59]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National teamYearAppsGoals
Spain 201410
As of match played 13 October 2020. Spain score listed first, score column indicates score after each Rodrigo goal.[59]
List of international goals scored by Rodrigo
16 October 2017Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante, Spain Albania1–03–02018 FIFA World Cup qualification
223 March 2018Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany Germany1–01–1Friendly
38 September 2018Wembley Stadium, London, England England2–12–12018–19 UEFA Nations League A
411 September 2018Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, Elche, Spain Croatia4–06–0
523 March 2019Mestalla, Valencia, Spain Norway1–02–1UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying
68 September 2019El Molinón, Gijón, Spain Faroe Islands1–04–0
815 October 2019Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden Sweden1–11–1




Spain U19

Spain U21


See also


  1. "2020/21 Premier League squads confirmed". Premier League. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  2. "Rodrigo". Eurosport. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  3. "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  4. Piñero, Alberto (22 March 2011). "Entrevista exclusiva Rodrigo: "Estaría encantado de volver al Real Madrid. ¿Quién no?" [Exclusive interview Rodrigo: "I'd be delighted to return to Real Madrid. Who wouldn't?]. Goal. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  5. Betancort, Rubén (30 November 2009). "La UD Lanzarote cae con honra frente al Real Madrid Castilla" [UD Lanzarote fall valiantly to Real Madrid Castilla]. Crónicas de Lanzarote (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  6. Sánchez-Flor, Ulises (31 July 2010). "El Real Madrid traspasa a Rodrigo al Benfica por seis millones de euros" [Real Madrid sell Rodrigo to Benfica for six million euros]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  7. "Rodrigo signs on at The Reebok". Bolton Wanderers F.C. 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  8. "Bolton sign Rodrigo Moreno from Benfica on loan". BBC Sport. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  9. "Elliott effort ensures Clarets win". ESPN Soccernet. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  10. "Elmander grabs point for Trotters". ESPN Soccernet. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  11. "Stam strike rescues Wigan". ESPN Soccernet. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  12. "Benfica win Taça da Liga". PortuGOAL. 14 April 2012. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  13. "Benfica annihilate Aves". PortuGOAL. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  14. "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Portuguese Securities Market Commission. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  15. Lazarevic, Nemanja (1 February 2014). "Benfica cash in on Rodrigo, Andre Gomes". Soccer News. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  16. "Peter Lim, o homem que comprou os passes de Rodrigo e André Gomes" [Peter Lim, the men who bought the rights for Rodrigo and André Gomes] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  17. "Rodrigo at the double to down AZ". ESPN FC. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  18. "Rodrigo homem do jogo: "Mérito é de todos"" [Rodrigo man of the match: "It's everybody's merit"] (in Portuguese). TVI 24. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  19. Atkin, John (14 May 2014). "Spot-on Sevilla leave Benfica dreams in tatters". UEFA. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  20. Gardner, Paul (15 May 2014). "Brazen goalkeeper cheating helps Sevilla win Europa League". Soccer America. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  21. Rocha, João Pedro (27 November 2019). "Jonas, Slimani e Gabigol. O efeito Jesus nos avançados" [Jonas, Slimani and Gabigol. The Jesus effect in forwards]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  22. "Rodrigo: "Jesus foi importantíssimo na minha evolução"" [Rodrigo: "Jesus was very important in my evolution"]. Record (in Portuguese). 13 May 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  23. Ruela, João (18 May 2014). "Benfica faz a "dobradinha" no Jamor 27 anos depois" [Benfica get "double" at Jamor 27 years later]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  24. "Comunicado oficial" [Official announcement] (in Spanish). Valencia CF. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  25. "Valência procura "forma jurídica" para levar Rodrigo e André Gomes" [Valencia looks for "legal way" to take Rodrigo and André Gomes] (in Portuguese). Rádio Renascença. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  26. "Sevilla 1–1 Valencia: Ten-man visitors snatch draw at the death". Goal. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  27. Melero, Delfín (22 September 2014). "El naranja pinta muy bien" [Orange is such a great colour]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  28. "Tres partidos a Rodrigo (Valencia) y Jémez (Rayo)" [Three games for Rodrigo (Valencia) and Jémez (Rayo)]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 6 May 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  29. "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Portuguese Securities Market Commission. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  30. "Rodrigo Moreno joins Valencia CF on a permanent deal through to 2019". Valencia CF. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  31. Burlaga, Kate (3 June 2018). "Rodrigo Moreno's renaissance – how ex-Bolton loanee roared back to book World Cup place with Spain". Sky Sports. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  32. Valle, Conrado (23 November 2017). "Valencia hand Rodrigo Moreno contract extension to 2022". Diario AS. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  33. Rodríguez, Ángel (29 January 2019). "Rodrigo es el dios de la guerra" [Rodrigo is the god of war]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  34. Chowdhury, Saj (25 May 2019). "Barcelona 1–2 Valencia". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  35. Álvarez, Fernando (17 September 2019). "Rodrigo le quita las penas al Valencia" [Rodrigo chases Valencia's woes away]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  36. Pacheco, Isabel (17 September 2019). "El Valencia habla en el campo (0–1)" [Valencia talk on the pitch (0–1)]. La Razón (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  37. Edwards, Harry (17 September 2019). "Stamford Bridge unkind to Lampard again: Five things learned from Chelsea 0–1 Valencia". Squawka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  38. "Ajax 0–1 Valencia". BBC Sport. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  39. "Rodrigo: Leeds sign Spain international from Valencia for club-record fee". Sky Sports. 29 August 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  40. "Leeds United complete Rodrigo transfer". Leeds United F.C. 29 August 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  41. McNulty, Phil (12 September 2020). "Liverpool 4–3 Leeds United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  42. "Leeds United 1–1 Hull City". BBC Sport. 16 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  43. McNulty, Phil (3 October 2020). "Leeds United 1–1 Manchester City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  44. "Leeds United: Rodrigo and Ian Poveda out for 'weeks' through injury". BBC Sport. 5 February 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  45. Poole, Harry (15 May 2021). "Burnley 0–4 Leeds United: Rodrigo scores twice in impressive win". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  46. Jackson, Elliott (26 May 2021). "Rodrigo Moreno makes Leeds United vow after honest Premier League admission". Leeds Live. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  47. "2–7: España golea a Georgia y suma sus primeros puntos de cara al Europeo" [2–7: Spain rout Georgia and score first points for European Championship]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 1 September 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  48. Segura, Manuel (21 March 2013). "5–2: Exhibición de Tello y goleada de España" [5–2: Tello show and Spain rout]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  49. "Euro 2012 trio Mata, Alba & Martinez in Spain Olympic squad". BBC Sport. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  50. "Chelsea's Diego Costa named in Spain squad". BBC Sport. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
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  52. McGee, Nicholas (6 October 2017). "Spain 3 Albania 0: World Cup place wrapped up as Pique gets mixed reception". Goal. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  53. "Morata misses out on Spain's 23-man World Cup squad". Goal. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  54. "Diego Costa scores again, Spain beats Iran 1–0 at World Cup". The New York Times. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  55. Navarro, Cristina (5 December 2012). "Primos en el césped" [Cousins on the pitch]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  56. Castelao, Eduardo J. (12 June 2018). "Thiago y Rodrigo, los falsos primos 'ingleses'" [Thiago and Rodrigo, the false 'English' cousins]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  57. Rodrigo at Soccerway. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  58. RodrigoUEFA competition record (archive) 
  59. "Rodrigo". European Football. 7 October 2017.
  60. Pereira, Catarina (21 April 2014). "As figuras do Benfica campeão: Rodrigo – afinal, havia outro" [The stars of champions Benfica: Rodrigo – there was another guy after all] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  61. Atkin, John (15 May 2013). "Ivanović heads Chelsea to Europa League glory". UEFA. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  62. "Hosts France celebrate Caen success". UEFA. July 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  63. Myson, Chris (19 June 2013). "Euro Under-21 Team of the Tournament: Thiago & Isco star as Spain dominate". Goal. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  64. "UEFA Europa League squad of the season". UEFA. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  65. "Rodrigo named LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for March". La Liga. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.