The Curious Case of James Rodriguez | Sportwalk Times
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The Curious Case of James Rodriguez

For one last time in UEFA Champions league, the stoppage time began as fans rose to their knees, some clutching to their loved ones while many to the Real Madrid crest. Burying their face into those cold hands with just the eyes perking up and rolling to witness what was needed – a free kick finish to beat Arsenal – it was more than a mere moment in history. And then, the screaming voice of the commentator came up aloud,

David Beckham with the winning goal, Real Madrid with the winning habit. They’ve come back into it.

Perhaps, it was a memorable night for the Real Madrid star, Santiago Munez, the fictional character who featured in the movie Goal, portraying how a talented youth who played English football at Newcastle United later proved to be a world-class talent by attracting Spanish giants Real Madrid and eventually switching a move.

A sport ultimately has the power to make the unthinkable happen — transforming dreams into reality, be it a single athlete’s fortune or a million fans’ happiness. Sometimes, the Unthinkable may also refer to something far more devastating — when the career of a legend is shut down because the demands are not met or a young player is forced to quit with a life altering injury. The curious tale of James Rodriguez though, who joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2014, is one that could still go either way.

How it started for Rodriguez?

The English language has two words which form the fundamentals of life – Want and Need. One may still want to sport Nike Mercurial Vapor despite having dozens of Magista or Hypervenom, which is to quench their long-term passion. Meanwhile, one might desperately need a Nike mercurial to overlay the devoid they have and build better outcomes.

As of Real Madrid, they have been always on the trail for wants rather than needs.

Rodriguez attracted millions with his star-performance in the World Cup and Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez, was one among those who expressed an intent desire to go hunting for the young lad.

Florentino Perez, Real Madrid, President, La Liga, Football, Sportwalk
© Photograph from Instituto Cervantes Tokio

Perez said,

He played brilliantly and his goals confirmed his status as one of the best players at the World Cup.

Obviously, he is one of the best, but not one of the much needed players.

Contrarily to support the claims for players that they apparently needed, Real Madrid announced the signing of German defensive mid-fielder Toni Kroos only 7 days before that of James’.

His contributions and significant role in starting line-up all say about how far he has thrived just by filling the hole in the wall, which was needed then.

The Break-Time Brawl:

Soon the youngster had to deal with severe blows that blew him towards the unforgiving bench. The tradition kick-started by Rafa Benitez now continues to thrive under Zinedine Zidane’s reign. Yet, Rodriguez has bagged eye-catching stunners and beautifully crafted assists during his active minutes on field. Not to mention, 2016-17 season had him on for just 8 games with 4 from the bench which paves way to the astonishing fact that he has been involved for just 337 minutes of league football.

James reacted to his disapproving welcome to the Bernabeu camp off the field in social media. So many are the instances:

When Rafa Benitez benched James in 2015 La Liga opener against Sporting Gijon because he wasn’t punctual for the pre-season training, he took it out to Instagram to quote, Better than ever. Later, Rodriguez flourished under his national side’s encounter with Chile which propelled him again to post, And they say I’m not in good shape.

James Rodriguez may have been proving a point but such words from him raised eyebrows and instilled a poor impression among board officials.

This word-play game of his extended under Zidane’s supremacy, too. And it seems like his latest words of honour, on the night Madrid beat Kashima Antlers to lift the Club World Cup might be his last of many:

You have to think about everything and look at your options. I have offers and I’ve got seven days to think about it.

 

James Rodriguez, Real Madrid, Columbia, Football, Sportwalk
© Photograph from Getty Images

So, Full-Time Score? 

Considering Rodriguez’ outburst at Japan, reliable sources support the claims that the former Monaco starlet is reportedly in the radar of Juventus and Chelsea.

And the recently shot video where James was spotted leaving a British embassy only adds fuel to the ongoing saga.

The Premier League Fit:

Manchester United has got things going under pace with Spanish icon and fans’ favourite Ander Herrera. Also, now that normal service began at Paul Pogba’s feet, James might not be just the one they need as of now, particularly with Jose Mourinho going after 2016 player of the year- Antoinne Griezmann.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has problems of his own kind – saving his position at Emirates for one more year. But out-of-blue came the partner-in-problem – Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s contract issues. While the former is approached with a 500,000 £ per week deal from Chinese clubs, the latter is allegedly eyed by Real Madrid for Mesut-James swap. Yet, Arsenal has players of his abilities and Wenger, too, had never confessed his interest for the Colombian.

Liverpool, under Jurgen Klopp, has increasingly been known for its fast pace attacking football, resembling much of Real Madrid’s. Unless otherwise Klopp wishes to incarnate such beastly skills (though he can) within Rodriguez, Anfield is expected to be out of sight.

Pep Guardiola has enough men already – David Silva, Yaya Toure, Kevin de Bruyne. Though James’ style of play suits the Etihad side the most, the vacancy position for his spot remains to be null, thus ruling out any possible move to the Manchester side.

Tottenham Hotspur might be his one apt place. With Lamela injured and Sissoko letting down, Rodriguez could combine with Eriksen and lead the North London side to winning ways. But Spurs, confronted by financial issues, never took his unsettled position at Santiago Bernabeu with seriousness.

So, this may leave the youngster’s career to one big swoop from Antonio Conte. The Italian boss had himself stated about his interest for the Madrid star and finance should be one less thing to worry, being under Roman Abramovich’s army. Also, offloading Oscar to the Chinese league, which is likely to happen, could fund him for his big target to become Oscar’s replacement at Stamford Bridge.

Goal went on to become a blockbuster hit worldwide. The movie, which was a realistic portrayal of life at the Madrid camp, ends with the words that continue to resonate amidst the speculation that continues to grow louder — the dream continues.