"He doesn't get credit but he's unbelievable": Patrick Vieira picks the key Manchester City player ahead of the Champions League final

Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace applauds fans after their sides defeat during The FA Cup Semi-Final match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on April 17, 2022 in London, England.
(Image credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Patrick Vieira has identified Manchester City's key midfielder this season and spoken about why the Citizens are quite so good.

Vieira played for Manchester City between 2010 and 2011, who are now on the cusp of a Treble, with just Inter Milan – another of Vieira's former clubs – to face in the Champions League final in Istanbul. 

Vieira, speaking at the launch of Expedia Live’s ‘Soundscape of Being There’ report, which celebrates the iconic sounds of travelling for football ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, shared some of his favourite sounds in football – and told FFT exclusively that he believes Rodri holds the key in Pep Guardiola's midfield.

Manchester City

Vieira has highlighted Rodri as the key man for Manchester City (Image credit: Getty)

"As a holding midfielder, I would have to say Rodri," Vieira told FFT as the player he enjoys most in City side.

"Rodri is a player that doesn’t get a lot of credit for his skills, but he is an unbelievable player. For me, he is the best holding midfielder in the world because of the way he plays with the players around, his decision-making, his defensive organisation about winning the first ball, the second ball, or making a foul when he needs to make a foul, being aggressive winning the ball when you need to win the ball. 

"He started to score a couple of goals in the last couple of games, but I really love him and for me, it’s a joy to watch him."

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Leeds United on 9 October, 2022 at Selhurst Park, London

Patrick Vieira faced Manchester City this season, as Crystal Palace manager (Image credit: Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images)

1. Cheering of the crowds
2. The chants
3. Team anthems being sung
4. The roar when the players take to the pitch
5. UEFA Champions League anthem before the game
6. Player songs being sung
7. Fans clapping
8. Ping of the ball hitting the crossbar
9. The noise of the ball hitting the back of the net
10. The tense silence before a penalty kick

Vieira has actually faced City this season as a manager, with Crystal Palace. The Eagles went 2-0 up against Guardiola's men before losing 4-2 – and now, Vieira says that this City side has no obvious weakness.

"What makes the team good is that they are good at everything! What are the weaknesses in the group?" he tells FFT now. "When they decide to play with the rhythms of the game, it’s really difficult to contend with them because of the quality that they have. 

"What makes this team special is that they do the easy things really well. They respect the game, respect the collective, and it looks like there is a really good atmosphere around them as well. A good group that leads really well together and I believe when you have that, it makes a difference to the quality of the game."

So who's going to win the Champions League final? Vieira says that City are favourites – but it won't be easy.

“I believe it will be a really big game of football because they both play different styles. City are the favourites to win the competition, but it won't be that easy. Italian teams defend really well and will have a tough defence on the day. It’ll be very difficult to predict who will win that game.”

Vieira also had his say on his favourite sounds in football – admitting that an away team had the best atmosphere for him. 

"One of the best atmospheres I would say has to be in Liverpool because when all the fans are singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, that is something that is unbelievable to experience. The sound, atmosphere, the passion. 

"And in one way, the away team really feel the pressure to step up, that song gives the players the momentum to really perform at their best. I believe they leave the Liverpool players feeling like their fans are extra players on the pitch."

Patrick Vieira was speaking at the launch of Expedia Live’s ‘Soundscape of Being There’ report. For further information and to hear more about the sounds that shaped Vieira’s career, visit Expedia Live: https://www.expedia.co.uk/sports/ucl

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.