The 27-year-old cancelled the remaining six months of his contract with Espanyol yesterday so that a move to Houston could go through without the need for a transfer fee and he has expressed his delight at joining Owen Coyle at the Dynamo in MLS.Embed from Getty Images
“I’m very excited to join the Houston Dynamo,” Rodríguez told the club’s official website. “This move represents a great challenge for me in my career with the growth of MLS.
“The Dynamo are an ambitious club with a clear vision and I’m excited to be a part of this project. Houston is a great city with a lot of possibilities for me and my family. I can’t wait to join my teammates and coaches and get to work.”
Here are five facts about the Dynamo’s new signing:
1. Rodriguez has spent the last five seasons in Liga BBVA with RCD Espanyol
The versatile defender has been with Espanyol since 2010, and started off with the club’s B-side. He went on to make 80 first-team appearances without scoring a goal but only saw one minute of league action this season before terminating his contract with the club.
2. He was handed his Espanyol debut by now Spurs boss Mauricio PochettinoEmbed from Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino signed Raul Rodriguez when he was the Espanyol coach in the summer of 2010 and then called him up to the senior squad for his debut in November that year, coming on in the last minute of a 3-2 away win at Atletico Madrid.
3. Rodriguez has represented the Catalonia National Team on one occasion
Although he has never appeared for the Spanish National Team, Rodriguez has one international cap to his name after playing for the Catalonia National Team in 2011, which was then managed by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
The team is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA but is the official football team of the Spanish community of Catalonia and some of Spain’s best players such as Gerard Pique, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets all played for the team on the same day that Rodriguez made his sole appearance.
4. He man-marked Cristiano Ronaldo a year ago and kept him quietEmbed from Getty Images
Rodriguez was given the tough task of man marking Cristiano Ronaldo in a Copa Del Rey clash against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last January, after being played at right-back, and he managed to keep the Portugal star quiet.
Ronaldo didn’t make an impact on the game, though Madrid still won 1-0 thanks to a Jese Rodriguez goal.
5. He helped Espanyol keep a clean sheet in both of his final two games for the club last month
Despite only seeing a minute of first-team action in the league this season, Rodriguez was played in both legs of the Copa Del Rey games against Deportivo Alaves in December. He played a full 90 minutes at centre-back in both legs and helped his side to 2-0 and 1-0 wins to advance.
He will now hope to have a similar impact in Houston as the Dynamo will look to Rodriguez to shore up their defence after they conceded 50 goals last year and kept just ten clean sheets.
The Dynamo have been moved to the Western Conference this season and that will ensure that Raul Rodriguez and the rest of the Houston defence are kept busy as Major League Soccer’s best attacking sides are in the Western Conference too.
Is Raul Rodriguez a good signing for the Houston Dynamo?