Do Real Madrid need $107 million James Rodriguez? Where will he play?


James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player.

The 23-year-old Colombian attacker completed his $107 million from AS Monaco to Real Madrid on Tuesday and will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu to thousands of adoring fans. Rodriguez has completed his dream move, but do Real really need him?

[RELATED: Rodriguez seals $107 million move ]

Ever since the AS Monaco forward took the 2014 World Cup by storm this summer and won the Golden Boot by scoring six goals in just five games, his name was linked with every top club in Europe. Quotes attributed to him spoke of his “dream to play for Real” and now that dream has become a reality.

However when you look around at the attacking players Real possess, it does seem a little over the top to add Rodriguez to the mix. Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale. Angel di Maria. Karim Benzema. Isco. Jese. Toni Kroos.

Yeah, it will be a tight squeeze to get into Real’s starting lineup this season. Warning: understatement alert.

Di Maria is the only star who looks likely to leave as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been rumored to swoop in for the Argentine, but the others are likely to remain. Rodriguez is said to have been handed the No. 10 jersey for Real which gives us a good indication as to where he will play.

[RELATED: Where does James transfer fee rank all-time?]

With Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo likely to hold the top three spots in a 4-3-3 formation, James could play at the head of a three man central midfield with two from Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sami Khedira behind him. With his penchant for making goals and smashing in long-range efforts like this one vs. Uruguay at the World Cup, this could be the perfect spot for Rodriguez. He hasn’t got the blistering pace of Ronaldo or Bale but he’s wonderfully gifted with the ball at his feet, has an eye for a pass and has a knack of wiggling out of tackles.

Wherever he lines up for Real, it’s likely he will interchange seamlessly with Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo to create what is perhaps the greatest front-four soccer has ever seen. After all, the transfer fees alone for those four players cost Madrid over $438.2 million.

Maybe Madrid didn’t need Rodriguez but now they have him, and the rest of Europe is shuddering at the thought of the “fantastic four” ripping it up in the UEFA Champions League once again next season.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

[ MORE: Ozil, Coquelin say Arsenal can win the title this season ]

The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga
Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images
1 Comment

There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

[ MORE: Three big battles between U.S. and Mexico ]

Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.