Colom­bian ends Madrid mis­ery with loan switch to Ger­man gi­ant

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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.

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