Revitalised James Rodriguez putting Real Madrid heartache behind him at Bayern Munich
James Rodriguez can’t explain why he was left out in the cold by Zinedine Zidane at European champions Real Madrid, but he isn’t complaining.
The 26-year-old Colombia midfielder has rediscovered his best form whilst at Bayern Munich, where things have gone so well he is already thinking about staying long beyond the terms of his existing two-year loan deal, which only started last summer.
A man for the big occasion 🇨🇴
🆚 Schalke – Goal & assist
🆚 Leipzig – Goal
🆚 Dortmund – 2 assists
🆚 Leverkusen – Goal & assist pic.twitter.com/w2E3gWbIC2
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) January 16, 2018
“I don’t know if I had good chemistry with Zidane or not,” James told El Chiringuito TV. “Every coach has his own preferences, and I respect that. I don’t know if there’s much point thinking about it. I always trained hard and tried my best, and whenever I played I made things happen.”
There’s no arguing with that. James made 111 appearances in all competitions across three seasons at Real, producing 36 goals and 41 assists, winning La Liga in 2016/17 and back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles. He may not have been to Zidane’s taste, but he has all the qualities that appeal to current Bayern head coach Jupp Heynckes.
“I’m really happy with him,” Heynckes said after James put the proverbial icing on the cake with a sensational free-kick in Bayern’s 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 18. “He’s fully integrated and you can see how happy he is here every day in training. He realises that he’s allowed to make mistakes and that it’s not a reflection of his performance if he’s taken off. He’ll only become more important for us as time goes on.”
Watch: James Rodriguez inspired Bayern to victory in Leverkusen
James’ masterful strike at the BayArena was his third goal in a Bayern shirt. He has also registered five assists – four in the Bundesliga, one in the Champions League – and has helped the defending Bundesliga champions to 13 wins from the 15 games he has started. Real’s loss is most certainly Bayern’s gain.
“It was sad for me when I left Real,” James admitted. “It was always a dream of mine to wear the white shirt – but football’s like that sometimes. Right now, I’m only thinking about Bayern. I’m feeling good, which I think you can see in my performances on the pitch. I want to achieve a lot with the club. My future is here.”