Real Madrid recall depends on whether Bayern Munich loanee can shine again in WC.
Colombia’s James Rodriguez earned himself a £63 million move from Monaco to Real Madrid after a standout performance at the last World Cup in 2014.
It was in Br azil where the now 26-year-old attacking-midfielder won the golden boot with six goals, including the goal of the tournament with a chested down turn and volley against Uruguay in the Last 16.
After Zinedine Zidane took over from Carlo Ancelotti at Real in 2016 however, Rodriguez found his playing time limited at the Santiago Bernabeu, subsequently seeing him loaned out to Bayern Munich last summer in a reunion with Ancelotti.
Ancelotti was sacked just a month later though prompting fears that whoever came in at the Allianz Arena after him would again fail to integrate the Colombian.
Those fears were allayed soon after however when Jupp Heynckes took over and Rodriguez rediscovered his form.
He has since proved pivotal to Bayern’s Bundesliga win and Champions League semi-final run this season, scoring seven goals in 23 league appearances with 11 assists and eight goals in 38 appearances overall, across all competitions.
His most impactful goal may have been his effort away to parent club Real in the Champions League semi-final second leg, which pulled it back to 4-3 on aggregate with just under half an hour remaining. One more goal for Bayern would have seen the Germans progress on away goals.
Real eventually held on to reach the final, but Rodriguez’s strike would have given Zidane enough reason to regret his decision to offload the winger, and may just prompt him to rethink his attacking options for next season.
Whether or not Real recall the player or Bayern act upon an option to make the loan permanent, now depends on whether Rodriguez replicates his 2014 form with another standout performance at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Rodriguez’s club future will also hinge on the comings and goings of Real’s other frontmen this summer, based on their own World Cup outcomes (with the exception of Gareth Bale whose Wales side haven’t qualified).
A good World Cup for Rodriquez will be good for Colombia too, who in five appearances recorded their best finish reaching the quarter-finals before defeat to hosts Br azil last time out in 2014.
Back then, Monaco striker Radamel Falcao missed the tournament through injury, but if you recombine Falcao’s finishing with Rodriguez’ point-to-prove supply, then they can surely go one better.