The international break in November will allow the return of James Rodríguez to the elite. He more than likely put an end to his irregular journey through professional football. The lack of opportunities in occident due to his lack of attitude and shape provoked his exit to Qatar and his retirement from the media spotlight.
Neither Ancelotti, his mentor at Real Madrid; or Rafa Benítez, who laid the foundations of his decline, have given a second chance to the talent that the Colombian ’10’ showed off in that summer of 2014.
The lack of competition rhythm and the physical issues that has dragged during the first quarter of 2021 turned out on not being called-up by Reinaldo Rueda for the Copa América. This way, James experienced the same exact situation than Sergio Ramos.
Despite the evidence of the fact that their performing would not be optimum, barely anyone could guess their discard. Rueda’s decision generated too much controversy and the player expressed his thoughts through a statement on his social network.
However, and just as it happened with Luis Enrique and Ramos, time proved that Rueda was right. James was not physically ready to play the Copa América and his call-up would have just been about providing experience to the group as captain and standard of the Colombian National Team.
The last few weeks have allowed James to feel like a footballer again. He has only played four games with Al Rayyan, but these have been enough to make official his return to the national team. It seems like there is still a coach that is willing to offer him the chance to redeem himself. In fact, the context couldn’t be better: Colombia are battling to be in the next World Cup.
It is now or never. At the age of 30 and settled down in Qatar, James has a lot to prove in the games against Brazil and Paraguay. No doubt that both meets will determine if he can still add or, on the opposite, must take a step aside.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @FCFSeleccionCol.
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