Colombian ends Madrid misery with loan switch to German giant
BERLIN — After a frustrating spell at Real Madrid, James Rodriguez will attempt to revive his career at Bayern Munich next season, back under the stewardship of Carlo Ancelotti.
The Colombian attacker on Tuesday joined his former Madrid boss Ancelotti at the German champion in a twoyear loan move.
Bayern has the option to buy the 2014 World Cup top scorer at the end of the deal.
Manchester United had been strongly linked with Rodriguez, who is also believed to have been courted by Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus.
“Signing James Rodriguez was our coach Carlo Ancelotti’s biggest wish, following their successful spell working together in Madrid,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“There’s no question that this transfer further increases the quality in our team.”
Instead of flying west to Los Angeles for Real’s tour of the United States, Rodriguez will jet east with Bayern on Sunday as the Bavarians visit China and Singapore.
Bayern’s Germany defender Mats Hummels wasted no time in welcoming Rodriguez, who scored six goals at the World Cup, by writing “Bienvenido @jamesrodriguez” on Twitter.
Rodriguez will boost Bay- ern’s star-studded attack along with fellow new signing Corentin Tolisso, 22, who has joined from French side Lyon for around $47 million.
Ancelotti has persuaded Bayern of the player’s undeniable talent, but it is still in the commanding position of having the chance to try before it buys.
There’s no question that this transfer further increases the quality in our team.”
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern chairman
Madrid, meanwhile, has found an agreeable way to offload the out-of-favor star, and will not make too much of a loss on its $86 million investment.
According to German daily Bild, Bayern will pay about $11 million per year and can then buy for $40 million.
Rodriguez has the chance to again prosper under Ancelotti, and is a timely replacement for departing Brazilian winger Douglas Costa, who is bound for Juventus.
It would be harsh to deem Rodriguez’s time at Real as a total failure — he scored 36 goals and had 38 assists in 110 games for the Spanish giant.
The Colombian, whose Real contract expires in 2020, arrived at Santiago Bernabeu three years ago from Monaco to much fanfare.
His best season in the Spanish capital was in 2014-15 under Ancelotti, notching 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 matches from his favorite position on the right side of the midfield, just behind Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
But Rodriguez struggled for starts under Ancelotti’s successors Rafael Benitez and, later, Zinedine Zidane.
Last season, he made just 13 La Liga starts, with nine off the bench. Zidane could find no room for Rodriguez behind Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid romped to the Champions League and domestic league double, beating Bayern in their European final.
It is not obvious where he will fit into Bayern’s starting XI, with strong competition for the No 10 role from Thiago Alcantara and Thomas Muller.
As well, Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman both like to come in off the right wing onto their left foot, just like Rodriguez.
One option would be to use Rodriguez alongside Thiago, behind striker Robert Lewandowski.
Wherever he plays, Colombia will hope Ancelotti restores the Rodriguez of old, so that he heads to next year’s World Cup somewhere near his dazzling 2014 form.