A Swiss regular already at the age of 19, Ricardo Rodriguez has enjoyed a rapid ascent to the top of the world game.
U-17 World Champion
Born in Switzerland’s largest city Zurich in 1992 to a Chilean mother and a Spanish father, his first club was local side FC Schwarmendingen, whom Rodriguez joined in 2001, before he was snapped up by the city's most established club, FC Zurich, only a year later.
It was there that he would make his name as a professional footballer, earning his senior debut in March 2010, and establishing himself as the club's first-choice left-back by the beginning of the 2011/12 campaign.
Rodriguez, a member of Switzerland’s golden generation that won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, played 15 times in his native top flight that season, but it was the recently-crowned Swiss international's displays in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round against FC Bayern München that really caught the eye.
Dynamic, athletic and possessing bags of energy, he was Zurich's standout performer over the two legs, and one club on whom those performances were not lost was VfL Wolfsburg, who duly took him to the Volkswagen Arena in January 2012, three months after making his full international debut in UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying.
After making his Bundesliga debut for the Wolves against 1. FC Köln on 21 January, Rodriguez contributed significantly to the club's ascent up the league table in the second half of the campaign by not missing a single minute of Bundesliga football thereafter.
Following a periodical dip in form in his second season where he featured only 24 times in the Bundesliga for the Lower Saxony club, Rodriguez was back to his best in 2013/14, emerging as Wolfsburg’s first-choice penalty-taker and scoring a personal best five and setting up another nine in the Wolves’ successful push for UEFA Europa League qualification, confirming his place in Switzerland's squad for the 2014 World Cup.