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Whatever Happened to James Rodriguez?

James Rodriguez looks on during a match with Real Madrid

Welcome to a new series of articles from Last Word on Football. During the coming days and weeks, we will be looking back to some of those players that make you ask, “Whatever happened to them?”. In this edition, we will be looking at Colombian sensation James Rodriguez, who hit the world stage almost as quickly as he left it.

Whatever Happened To Colombian Star James Rodriguez?

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Bursting Onto The Scene

James Rodriguez started his professional footballing career at just 14 years old, playing in a Colombian second-division game for Envigado. He would then go on to play for Argentinian club Banfield where he played 42 games, scoring five goals. In this time he earned himself the nickname “James Bond of Banfield”.

In 2010 the attacking midfielder earned his first big move in a £4.4 million transfer to FC Porto. It was here that Rodriguez established himself as a well-known player in football. 25 goals in 63 games meant that he set the Primeira Liga alight.

After three seasons at the Portuguese club, James’ next move was to AS Monaco. A fee of £39 million was agreed to join fellow Colombian Radamael Falcao in a team that finished second in Ligue 1. 22 goal contributions in the league that season earned him a position in Ligue 1’s team of the season.

2014 World Cup: A Star Is Born

The 2014 World Cup was hosted in Brazil meaning that James was now on the world stage in his home continent. His performances did not disappoint as he led Colombia to the quarter-finals where they would lose to the hosts.

But this is where the midfielder became a household name. Rodriguez scored three times across the two elimination games that he featured in. One of those goals was this stunner that earned him the Puskas Award.

Following the tournament, many rumours about the Colombian’s next club circulated, but it was Real Madrid who got his signature in a massive £72 million transfer ahead of the 2014/15 season.

Failing To Make His Mark For Los Blancos

The then 23-year-old moved to Madrid for the fourth-highest transfer fee at the time. However, his potential was never realised with the La Liga club. His first season was by far his best, finding the back of the net 13 times along with providing 13 assists in the league as Real finished second to rivals Barcelona. Rodriguez was subsequently named the league’s best midfielder

Throughout the next two seasons, Rodriguez saw his playing time and therefore his production decrease. Competing with the likes of Toni Kroos and Isco for a spot in the starting lineup. The result of this was a loan request at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Ahead of the 2017/18 season, Bayern Munich announced that they had signed the Colombian to a two-year loan deal. Reuniting with his first Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti proved to be fruitful as he amassed 29 goal contributions in 43 games across the two years. But it wasn’t enough for the German club to make the deal permanent.

In his return to Madrid, James played just eight league games for Los Blancos as his time with the club came to an end after the 2019-2020 La Liga season.

Life Post Madrid

In what was seen as a massive coup for the club at the time, English club Everton signed the then 29-year-old on a free transfer. Once again he was reunited with Ancelotti, his one season with the club saw him play 23 league games for six goals and four assists. At the end of the season, Ancelloti departed the Merseyside club to return to Real Madrid, leading to the departure of Rodriguez himself.

Read More: Playmaker James Rodriguez Admits He Wanted Everton Stay

The following two seasons saw the Colombian play for Qatari club Al Rayyan and Greek powerhouse Olympiakos respectively. But he failed to make his mark at either club and left both after just a single season. Now at 32 years old James has returned to his home continent and is currently playing for Brazilian club Sao Paulo.


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