James Rodriguez's Real Madrid career has not gone to plan. The Colombian midfielder, who arrived at the club in 2014 for a fee of £63 million, has been barely utilized by coach Zinedine Zidane this season.
However, former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes, in an interview with newspaper El Espectador, spoke highly about Rodriguez.
"Succeeding at Real Madrid very complicated."
Morientes, who spent seven seasons at Real Madrid, appeared 272 times for them in all competitions, scoring 100 goals and providing 31 assists.
And he was effusive in his praise for Rodriguez.
"Whatever happens from here to the end of the season, I do not think James has passed without pain or glory. We are talking about an extraordinary player, legendary for Colombia, for his team. Not all footballers can succeed at the same level."
Morientes was particularly impressed with the 28-year old's first season at Real Madrid.
"The first season he had extraordinary games and left evidence of his talent, he put himself at the service of Real Madrid with wonderful goals."
Rodriguez's first season with Los Blancos was indeed impressive. Often playing as a central midfielder, Rodriguez registered 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 appearances for the club under Carlo Ancelotti's management.
Morientes stated that the competition for positions at Real Madrid meant that even a player of Rodriguez's abilities was often left out.
"It is true that he had to leave and now that he returned he has not had the participation that he and the fans would surely want, but succeeding at Real Madrid is very complicated by the competition. He occupies a position in which there are many talented men. It also depends on the profile that the coach wants. Zidane surely thinks he has others with higher performance."
Rodriguez was on loan at Bayern Munich for two years, from 2017 to 2019. The German club decided not to make him a permanent signing, despite the Colombian performing well for them. In 67 appearances for the club, he had 15 goals and 20 assists.
His time at Real Madrid seems to be coming to an end. Zinedine Zidane seems to prefer the likes of Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo and even Lucas Vazquez to Rodriguez. With the return of Marco Asensio from injury and Martin Odegaard from a loan spell at Real Sociedad, there is little chance that Rodriguez will get adequate chances to prove himself.
There has been interest in Rodriguez from various big clubs. Ancelotti, his former coach at Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, would like him to come to Everton. Atletico Madrid are strong contenders as well, if rumours are to be believed. Apart from that, the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked as well.
At 28, Rodriguez is at the prime of his career. Wasting it at Real Madrid is surely not the option.Published 11 Jun 2020, 21:56 IST