Why a move to Napoli can kickstart James Rodriguez's stagnant career
Every four years, the FIFA World Cup not only provides scintillating and special moments to the football fans across the globe but also brings some exceptional footballers into the deserved limelight. The competition provides the players with the biggest platform to show their mettle and make a name for themselves.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil provided such an opportunity to James Rodriguez and he took it with both hands. The Colombian finished the tournament as the top scorer, winning the Golden Boot.
After an impressive display at the quadrennial tournament, Spanish club Real Madrid brought the Colombian star to the Santiago Bernabeu - paying a hefty fee in the process.
With 13 goals and 13 assists, the Colombian continued his impressive form and had an excellent first season at the Bernabeu under the then manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
However, after the Italian manager's departure, things were never the same for the midfielder and it worsened following the arrival of Zinedine Zidane. Despite contributing to 24 goals, scoring 11 and creating 13, the French manager did not provide James with sufficient game time during the 2016-17 season, prompting the Colombian to seek an exit.
In order to get more game time, Rodriguez moved to Bayern Munich on a loan transfer deal to reunite with his former boss Carlo Ancelotti in the summer of 2017. The Columbian regained his form in his first season with the Bavarians, scoring 7 and creating 11 goals and won the Bundesliga title with his team.
Unfortunately, the midfielder was not able to continue to his good form in the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign under Niko Kovac. The Real Madrid loanee appeared in 13 games only, with the Croat giving time to the likes of Leon Goretzka and Thiago instead. Even though he showed good form in the minimum playing time he could afford by contributing to 10 goals, he still couldn’t impress the new boss.
The Colombian's 2-year loan deal ends this summer and the club CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed in an interview with the SportBild that the player will indeed leave the Bavarians in the coming weeks.
With his time over at the Allianz Arena and a return to Madrid highly unlikely, what does the future hold for James Rodriguez?
Regardless of his share of highs and lows at the two elite football clubs, the Colombian is still one of the most technically gifted players in the world. With his immense qualities, he still remains a hot property in the transfer market and will surely attract offers from top clubs.
A move, perhaps, to Serie A side Napoli may be in the best interest of both the club and the player.
James has been played out of position on many occasions, both at Bayern and Madrid, leaving him frustrated and impactless. But at Napoli, he can finally play in his favourite number 10 position.
After the departure of their club legend Marek Hamsik, Napoli need to find a replacement to fill the void in the midfield and James can prove to be the perfect replacement. With his inch-perfect passing, technical finesse, and a knack for scoring goals, he is an ideal out-and-out attacking midfielder.
Napoli, in the past, has been the club to provide a second chance to several talented players. Gonzalo Higuain arrived in Italy hoping to revive his career after being rejected by Real Madrid. Dries Mertens, and Jose Callejon, on the other hand, came to Naples as unexplored potentials and developed into complete players.
Additionally, the Napoli boss, Carlo Ancelotti has partnered with the Colombian twice before and knows how to utilize the immense potential that the midfielder holds.
However, since nothing is finalized yet, the confusion over the future of the Columbian, who was once expected to be at the pinnacle of world football, remains unclear.