What happened to James Rodríguez?
In legal language, this is called a set of clues. When a set of consistent elements can lead to the conviction of a defendant, for lack of indisputable evidence. For James Rodriguez, the thesis of his guilt began to gain momentum when Zinedine Zidane arrived on the Madrid bench, and the status of the Colombian, degraded under Rafa Benitez, did not evolve. For Zizou’s first two games as Real Madrid coach, James was forced to sit on the bench, where he spent far too much time, for his taste, under Benitez. A choice that contributed to overturning the popular narrative, according to which the cafeteriawas the victim of the sometimes Byzantine options of his now ex-coach, to make the Colombian the main person responsible for his own misfortune. In other words, if Zidane made the same choices as Benitez, it was because James was not up to what was expected of him.
A scene in which Spanish TV did not miss a beat did nothing to help the case of the top scorer of the 2014 World Cup. During Zizou’s second match on the bench, on January 17, against Sporting Gijon, James was caught in the act of indolence by his trainer. When Jesé was preferred to replace Gareth Bale, the Colombian then decided not to continue his warm-up and returned to the bench, which infuriated Zidane. Sent back to warm up, James then appeared crestfallen on the screen, leaving the image of a lost footballer, far from the irresistible number 10 who had conquered merengue supporters in his first season in Madrid.
James Rodriguez during Real Madrid – Espanyol Barcelona in La Liga on January 31, 2016
The year started decidedly badly for James Rodriguez, caught speeding on January 1, when he went to training. Another oddity that came to reinforce the version according to which the Colombian had deviated from the right path, and had even yielded to the sirens of the night, as the journalist, Paco Gonzalez, had suggested in his radio program “Tiempo de juego “. The press also echoed the alleged overweight of the Colombian. At the beginning of December, the ex-director of Marca, Eduardo Inda, thus affirmed that for Rafa Benitez the left-hander was weighted by a few kilos. James’ trial could begin to be heard…
THE COPA AMERICA, THE FIRST SETBACK
Seen from the outside, James’ bad streak might have looked like that of a young man programmed for success from an early age and whom Madrid glamor had ended up deviating from his impeccable trajectory. Pro from the age of 14, when he started with Envigado FC, in the Colombian first division, James is the result of an alliance between a born footballer’s talent and an iron discipline acquired from a very young age. When he was not yet ten years old, his stepfather had concocted a diet and a training routine for him to help him grow, while genetics predestined him to be small.
Those who have known him since his beginnings, however, absolutely do not believe in the thesis of a young man saturated with competition, and who would aspire to breathe, tired of the requirement of a high level that he has been around for too long. ” James is a serious young man, says Hernan Londoño Sierra, one of his trainers at Envigado FC, he loves his sport and remains focused on his career “. “ Everything that is said about James is pure rumour, said a relative of the player, questioned on January 21 by the Colombian daily, El Tiempo, if he spent his time partying, photos would have already leaked “.
So, James Rodriguez, 24, would he have simply been destabilized by the treatment of disfavor to which Rafael Benitez subjected him during his six months at the head of the merengue? In defense of Zidane’s predecessor, however, it must be remembered that the Colombian was particularly rough during the Copa América 2015, very far from his extraordinary World Cup, which had revealed him to the eyes of the very general public. “ The whole selection played badly, we cannot accuse James more than another“Clears him, however, Londoño Sierra. In the vertical trajectory of the gifted left-hander, this Copa America was, in any case, a first setback, which has lasted six months. A bad pass that the former – Envigado FC coach, Pedro Sarmiento, attributes mainly to the physical condition of James: ” he was injured, and he probably played again too soon, he assures us, he was not prepared physically to return “. Injured in mid-September, James has, in fact, struggled to regain his best level after an absence of almost two months. Above all, he never accepted his demotion in the merengue hierarchy, as illustrated by his sulky exits from the field under the Benitez era, especially against Eibar and Real Sociedad. What if the Colombian’s downside came rather from a certain inability to manage his frustration, a feeling that was almost foreign to him for having crossed each stage of his career with insolent ease?
FOR NOW, HE’S TAKING ADVANTAGE OF BALE’S UNAVAILABILITY
In an editorial entitled “James is not fat” , ABC journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin developed this thesis. “ Angry to read this information about his weight or his exits, James reacted with counterproductive behavior, which goes against his interests, he wrote, on January 22, he also confronted Benitez with irrelevant statements, and he reacted like a spoiled brat to Zidane when he realized he would be a substitute in the first two matches led by the Frenchman “.
” But it seems that James has reacted, continued this Real Madrid specialist, and at Villamarím ( the Betis stadium ) we will see if he is a starter or a substitute. ” Holder for the first time in the Zidane era during the counter -performance of his people on the ground of Betis (1-1), James was not sparkling, but nevertheless signed an assist for Karim Benzema.
At the end of this first appearance of the year in the Madrid eleven, the cafeteria dropped what he had on his heart. ” It hurts that people talk about me like this, he said, that people say I’m fat. I’m a great professional, I give everything on a daily basis, but I stay calm, you just have to I find some rhythm“. A week later, James put his money where his mouth was by showing himself to be much more to his advantage during Real’s card against Espanyol Barcelona (6-0). The Colombian playmaker, who saw his return to the Madrid eleven favored by the unavailability of Gareth Bale, however, is not finished fighting because, once the Welshman is back on his feet, James will have to show that he has learned from his last six frustrating months, and that he will know how to be patient, if necessary.
In the meantime, everything indicates that he will start on Sunday against Granada. The opportunity to make his performance his best lawyer, in order to plead his case with his trainer, and not to be sentenced again to long stays on the bench.