When James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid in June 2014 he had the world at his ft. Six years later he’s simply hoping to search out steady floor in Merseyside.
The Colombia attacking midfielder’s £20m move to Everton is the newest step on a journey that has taken him from World Cup Golden Boot to heralded Galactico to undesirable loanee and eventually the Bernabeu exit.
So what participant are the Toffees getting – world celebrity or high-profile flop? And the place will the 29-year-old slot in at Goodison Park?
BBC Sport, with the assistance of our chief soccer author Phil McNulty and Spanish soccer professional Andy West, makes an attempt to reply these questions and extra about Carlo Ancelotti’s first main signing as supervisor…
Why is Rodriguez an enormous deal?
Rodriguez had already established a robust popularity throughout Europe earlier than 2014, courtesy of his time at Porto and Monaco.
He gained the Portuguese league three years operating earlier than the age of 21, throughout which period he turned the youngest to win the division’s participant of the yr award, aged 20, in 2012, earlier than Monaco purchased him for £38.5m.
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It was the World Cup in Brazil, although, that actually propelled him into the limelight as his six objectives in 5 matches helped Colombia attain the quarter-finals.
These objectives had been a showcase for his all-round skill – two calm close-range finishes, a penalty, a header from a nook and, best of all, a chest and elegant volley from 20 yards in opposition to Uruguay, which was voted the best of the tournament.
The move to Real Madrid followed, a payment of £71m making him on the time the fourth costliest footballer in historical past. Their manger on the time: Ancelotti.
His arrival was met with resounding positivity. He was becoming a member of a ahead line already boasting Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, was greeted by hundreds of euphoric, flag-waving Madridistas at his unveiling on the Bernabeu, and spoke of making historical past within the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane.
Has he actually been a failure since becoming a member of Madrid?
His trophy haul would counsel not – two La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, two Club World Cups, together with a pair of Bundesliga titles and a German Cup winner’s medal from his mortgage spell at Bayern Munich.
But the story of his Real profession might be break up into two elements.
The constructive part got here – encouragingly for Everton followers – with Ancelotti as his supervisor.
The second, considerably disappointing half, got here underneath his idol Zidane.
Spanish soccer author Andy West takes over the story…
Rodriguez arrived at Real Madrid with excessive expectations and, at first, he met them.
Under the administration of Ancelotti – with whom he loved a heat relationship – Rodriguez began 40 video games and scored 17 objectives throughout his first season on the Bernabeu. But then Ancelotti left and he would by no means come near these numbers once more.
He notably struggled after the arrival of Zidane in early 2016. Although there was hardly ever outright hostility between them – their relationship didn’t descend to the sort of breakdown we have now seen with Bale – it’s clear Rodriguez by no means actually earned Zidane’s belief and he was allowed to depart on a two-season mortgage deal to Bayern Munich in 2017.
The drawback was primarily positional. Other than a short section in 2017 when Isco stuffed the position, Zidane has by no means lined up with a central, playmaking quantity 10, which is Rodriguez’s best place.
He couldn’t adapt to enjoying on the wing, so there was no pure place for him within the group.
Rodriguez actually was not a complete failure for Real Madrid and confirmed his huge high quality on many events, however he will likely be remembered as a “nearly” participant somewhat than a star.
What do the numbers inform us?
As advised above, his best season of the previous six in phrases of attacking return was his first at Real. But he nonetheless returned respectable numbers within the 5 campaigns after.
His output stacks up nicely in opposition to his friends in La Liga…
And within the Bundesliga from his time there…
Where will he slot in at Everton?
Rodriguez is undoubtedly an announcement signing for the Toffees and one who ought to enhance their attacking efficiency. He additionally hints at a change of method from the membership – one with Ancelotti at its centre.
BBC Sport chief soccer author Phil McNulty explains…
Everton’s deal for Rodriguez is a major second not merely as a result of of the worldwide profile he’ll afford the Merseysiders however as a result of it illustrates the pulling energy and affect of Ancelotti.
It could also be a brutal assertion however it’s extremely unlikely, to place it mildly, that he would have left Real Madrid for Everton had Ancelotti not been at Goodison Park.
This was precisely the type of attraction proprietor Farhad Moshiri had in thoughts when he appointed Ancelotti in December. He knew A-listers who could not have thought of a transfer to the membership earlier than may put it on their radar now the calm, charismatic Italian is supervisor.
Rodriguez’s position will likely be so as to add creativity and objectives to Everton as Ancelotti rebuilds the entrance finish of the group and injects contemporary impetus right into a midfield that merely was not match for goal final season, providing little assist in assault and meagre safety in defence.
The Colombian is prone to play simply behind Everton’s strike pair of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, including efficiency and unpredictability to at least one space of the group that may be a energy.
In the broader context, it’s an attention-grabbing deal as a result of it suggests Ancelotti is wielding nice energy over switch dealings, demanding his personal males.
Everton director of soccer Marcel Brands favours youthful signings who can enhance and improve in worth – however the arrival of Rodriguez suggests he and the membership settle for the necessity to accede to Ancelotti’s want for knowledgeable gamers for the right here and now.