Real Madrid have a special aura around them. They have been home to some of the greatest players ever. Alfredo Di Stefano, Ronaldo Nazario, Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, the list goes on. Naturally, there are many who grow up dreaming of pulling on the Royal White jersey and make the move to Santiago Bernabeu, even if better offers are available elsewhere.
James Rodriguez did the same. The Colombian superstar was a man in demand after an incredible 2014 World Cup campaign, which saw him finish with the Golden Boot and score one of the best goals in the tournament’s history that will be replayed forever.
There were many top teams after the signature of James, who was then at AS Monaco, in the summer of 2014. Ultimately, he ended up joining Real Madrid for a transfer fee believed to be around £63 million.
"“PSG and City both wanted me.“Both teams came with more significant offers than Madrid, but I wanted glory; I wanted Real Madrid.“There’s nothing like Real Madrid. Florentino Pérez called me and said to convince me: ‘What do you want, money or glory?’ and then I told him that I wanted glory. He replied, ‘Well, it’s done’.”"
£63 million player rejected PSG and Manchester City to join Real Madrid
James had a remarkable debut season at Real Madrid. But was never able to replicate that in the future.
Many fans view his time in the Spanish capital as a disappointment. That might not be a fair assessment of the situation though.
James delivered the goods whenever given a chance to do so and was always effective in the final third of the pitch. One of the major reasons why his career faded away might have been because of how the traditional number 10 role has gradually lost its importance in football over the years.
James had a solid two-season loan stint at Bayern Munich as well. But the club decided to not take up the chance to sign him.
Still just 32 years of age, James’ career has been on a downward trajectory for a while when compared to the lofty heights he reached at the 2014 World Cup and Real Madrid. After playing at Al-Rayyan and Olympiacos, he now finds himself at Sao Paulo.