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?
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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.
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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.