One of the Colombian best players, James Rodriguez, is facing his most difficult season in his career. In every club that he played, James brought into the starting lineup very quickly and, of course, proved himself to stay there. When he was only 17, he led Banfield, a small Argentine club, to amaze the country and to take the championship. The same story was in Porto. James wasn’t a big star like his co-patriot, Radamel Falcao, but he worked very hard his way until he became one of the key players as well. In Monaco the story repeat itself, when James didn’t play much at the beginning and coach Ranieri was criticized about it, but later got the chance and took it.
But the peak was a head of him. Colombia came to the World Cup 2014 without their biggest star, Falcao, and 23-year-old James had to take it all on his shoulders. The result? The best tournament ever of Colombia, who lost in the quarter final to Brazil and James was crowned as the top scorer of the tournament with six goals, including the best goal of the year, the volley vs. Uruguay.
It was enough for Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, to splash €80M on him. Many experts thought that the tag price was too much, that he still needs to prove himself beyond the World Cup, but James had the answer. A brilliant first season under coach Anchelotti ended with 17 goals and 18 assists, when James started in most of the games. Anchelotti believed in him, gave him confidence and James returned on the pitch at such young age in the most pressed club in the world.
Things got complicated once Anchelotti was fired surprisingly and Rafa Benitez took the job. He, actually, still gave James the chances in the starting lineup, but the whole team played bad under him, even Cristiano Ronaldo looked out of form. Florentino Perez decided that it was too much to handle and asked Zinedine Zidan, one of the club’s former legends, to replace Benitez on January 4th 2016. Since the beginning Zidane didn’t count on James, despite the fact that Zidane himself had almost the same role as the Colombian. Zidane didn’t count on the other creative midfielder in the squad, Isco, but on the other hand gave full credit to the B.B.C. trio: Bale, Benzema and Cristiano, even though they didn’t justify it.
James was very frustrated and he had all the reasons. He barely played, if he played it was just to get 10-15 minutes and if he would started already, he usually was the first player to be subbed. It looks like that Zidane doesn’t count him no matter what James will do. When both sides were interviewed, they denied any tense between them. James said that he wants to stay, Zidane said that he needs James. But the truth was that James barely played, barely got a true chance to prove himself.
Look at James’s numbers so far: He played 29 matches in all competitions, which is only 1,583 minutes. Scored 9 goals and passed 14 assists. If we take in consider that he lost form when he didn’t play, lost confidence because of Zidane’s acts and still manage to bring good numbers – the question is why Zidane don’t let him to play more. And not only James. With Morata & Isco it’s the same thing, while both Bale & especially Benzema aren’t impressive but for Zidane they are untouchable.
Real still can take both Champions League and La Liga titles. Zidane enjoy from too much luck (7 victories for Real in the last 10 minutes) but if Real will win at least one of these two titles, he will be the fans favorite again, even though the team was far from play attractive football. too many times the team lost points because the B.B.C. perform below their regular form, yet for Zidane it was enough to give them more chances, even though he has maybe the best bench in the world.
For James the equation is simple: If Zidane will stay, he must leave but he also needs to find a club that would be willing to pay around €70M on him (Milan, Manchester United, PSG and Arsenal were already mentioned). If Zidane won’t stay, then James will have to talk with both Perez and the new manager to see what his status going to be. In y opinion, he has to leave. First, because I don’t think that Zidane will leave and second, because he must change the atmosphere and needs to gain his god form back by playing in a club where the manager will give him the keys. When James in charge, you’ll get the same player who shined in the Brazil 2014.