Ricardo Rodriguez began playing football at the highly regarded youth club FC Schwamendingen in 2001 before joining the youth setup of FC Zürich as an 11-year-old in 2002. He was promoted to the senior squad in 2009 at age 16, making the bench for Zürich’s 2–3 defeat to NK Maribor in the first leg of their third qualifying round Champions League tie on 29 July 2009.
He made his Zürich debut as a 17-year-old in the 25th round of the Swiss Super League on 21 March 2010, replacing the injured Hannu Tihinen in the first half of the 2–0 win over Bellinzona. His full debut came in the Zürich Derby against Grasshoppers on 5 April, playing the entire 3–2 win for the hosts.
He made only his second start in the first match of the Swiss Super League season on 20 July 2010, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–3 defeat to rivals FC Basel. On 28 April 2011, he scored his first professional goal for the club, opening the scoring for the hosts as they ran out 3–0 winners over Neuchâtel Xamax at the Letzigrund.
Rodríguez made his European debut in the first-leg of their third qualifying round tie against Standard Liège on 27 July 2011. He played the entire match and provided the cross for fellow Zürich youth team graduate Admir Mehmedi as the Swiss secured a 1–1 draw at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne in Belgium. In the second leg, Ricardo Rodriguez missed from an open goal from close range but Zürich won 1–0 to earn a spot in the play-off round against Bayern Munich. He played the entirety of both play-off matches against Bayern, but the Swiss side fell 0–3 on aggregate and dropped into the Europa League.
On 26 October 2011, Rodríguez scored his second goal for the club, netting his side’s second from the penalty spot, in a 2–0 win over FC Thun. The club’s final Super League match before the winter break on 10 December 2011, turned out to be Rodríguez’s last in a Zürich shirt, playing the entire 1–1 draw with FC Sion. On 11 January 2012, Zürich officials announced that the club had accepted a bid for Rodríguez by German side Wolfsburg and that he was on the verge of completing the transfer, subject to a medical. Despite being sold midway through the season, Rodríguez was voted as the Fans’ Player of the Season on 4 June 2012, ahead of Oliver Buff and Pedro Henrique.
VfL Wolfsburg purchased Ricardo Rodriguez as a 19-year-old on 13 January 2012 for £7.5 million with the player signing a four-and-a-half-year deal. He quickly asserted himself into the first-team lineup, making his Bundesliga debut the next day against 1. FC Köln, a 1–0 victory for the Wolves. Ricardo Rodriguez went on to play every game of the season from that point on without being substituted, becoming a favorite on the left of the defense for manager Felix Magath.
Through the first ten league games of the following campaign, Rodríguez was once again an ever-present in the squad, featuring in all the outings, starting eight. But Magath was sacked after a poor run of form in the league and when Lorenz-Günther Köstner was installed as interim manager, the more experienced Marcel Schäfer was preferred at left back. Once Dieter Hecking was appointed manager though, Ricardo Rodriguez won his place back in the first team.
On 9 November 2013, he scored his first goal for Wolfsburg, from a direct free kick in a home Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund. The match ended in a 2–1 win for Wolfsburg, although they were losing at half-time. His second goal for Wolfsburg came from the penalty spot against Hamburg on 29 November, earning his side a 1–1 draw. He opened the scoring in their Bundesliga match on 14 December, curling the ball past keeper Sven Ulreich, as Wolfsburg won 3–1.
He finished the 2013–14 season with five league goals, in addition to nine assists. He failed to make it into the Bundesliga Team of the Season, but was included in a list of the Best Defenders for the 2013–14 campaign. Rodríguez’s nine assists also meant that he created more goals than any other full-back in Europe. His impressive displays during the season included 2.3 key passes per game, the same number as Andrea Pirlo, the two-time reigning Serie A Footballer of the Year, and 2.6 successful dribbles per game, more than Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner.
Rodríguez taking a free-kick for Wolfsburg.
He scored his first ever goal in European football for Wolfsburg on 18 September 2014, netting directly from a free-kick after having previously scored an own-goal in a 4–1 defeat to English side Everton. Three days later, Rodriguez scored twice more for Wolfsburg, once from the penalty spot and a volley from a Kevin De Bruyne corner, as Wolfsburg defeated Bayer Leverkusen 4–1. He scored his third league goal of the season against Werder Bremen on 27 September, converting a De Bruyne cross to put Wolfsburg up 1–0 in an eventual 2–1 victory.
In October 2014, Rodríguez was ruled out for a number of weeks with a troubled patella tendon and thigh. On 31 October, his agent, Roger Wittman, confirmed that Rodríguez and Wolfsburg had opened contract talks to extend his current deal beyond 2016. Ricardo Rodriguez scored twice in Wolfsburg’s 3–0 win away to Lille on 11 December, a result which advanced his side into the Europa League knockout stage instead of their opponents. In January 2015, he signed a new contract up to June 2019. He scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot on 7 April, as Wolfsburg defeated SC Freiburg to reach the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal, also making a goalline clearance later on. In the final on 30 May, he played the full 90 minutes as Wolfsburg won their first cup, defeating Borussia Dortmund 3–1.
Rodríguez played the full 90 minutes of Wolfsburg’s victory over Bayern Munich in the 2015 DFL-Supercup on 1 August, scoring their first attempt in the penalty shootout after a 1–1 draw.
On 28 August 2015, he managed to score his first goal of the season against from the spot. He also assisted Tim Klose’s goal later in that match as Wolfsburg beat Schalke 3–0. He scored another penalty in a 2–1 loss against Borussia Dortmund on 5 December.
On 6 April 2016, as Wolfsburg hosted Real Madrid in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the season’s Champions League, Ricardo Rodriguez scored a penalty to open a surprise 2–0 victory. By sending Keylor Navas the wrong way, he was the first player to score against Real’s goalkeeper in the tournament for 738 minutes.
On 20 August 2016, Rodríguez played his first game of the season in a 2–1 win over FSV Frankfurt in DFB-Pokal. He also played Wolfsburg’s opening Bundesliga match of the season, in which he scored a freekick in a 2–0 win over Augsburg.
In January 2017, Ricardo Rodriguez was a target for Inter Milan and agreed to a move, but the Italian club refused to pay a fee high enough to trigger his release clause of £18.5 million.