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Friendship with Ronaldo affecting James' on-field behaviour

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Bogota, Nov 18 (IANS) Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez's friendship with star teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is having a bad influence on the Colombian, legendary Colombian footballer Faustino Asprilla has said.

The ex-Newcastle United and Parma striker told ESPN that James' uncooperative body language in Colombia's 0-3 defeat to Argentina on Tuesday was reminiscent of the on-pitch gestures that Ronaldo has been criticised for on the pitch.

"Lately what I am seeing from James -- who I love and respect a lot -- is that his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid is damaging him," Asprilla was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper AS.

"He makes the same gestures when they don't give him the ball (in the Colombia team). When they don't give Cristiano the ball, he gesticulates to everyone. In Colombia (James) waves his arms at his teammates."

He underlined a specific incident in the Argentina match to shed further light on the topic. "At the start of the game, he scowled at Alavarez Balanta and made a gesture. I don't know if it was because he didn't pass the ball or not," he noted.

"The first thing James needs to do is help his teammates improve because he's playing in a team of youngsters who respect him and no one dares say anything to him. But in another team they'd give him a slap. At least in the Colombia side I played in we wouldn't stand for it," Asprilla, who played 57 matches for Colombia, added.

"It's all a bit ugly. It's normal to argue with the referee and quarrel with rival players, but with your teammates it's not. You can quarrel, but doing it because one of your teammates didn't pass the ball is the ugliest thing you can do as a footballer. He's picked up that habit from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does it every eight days."

--IANS

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