Real Madrid sign James Rodriguez for $107 million


On Tuesday Real Madrid officially announced the signing of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez.

James is now the fourth most expensive player in soccer history behind Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale (both Real Madrid) as the Spanish giants have finally got their man.

The 23-year-old has joined the reigning European Champions on a six-year deal for a fee of $107 million, after taking the World Cup by storm.

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

[VIDEO: James scores wondergoal at WC]

Rodriguez scored six times in five World Cup matches this summer in Brazil to lift the Golden Boot, despite Colombia only reaching the quarterfinal stage, and has been linked with a switch from French side AS Monaco to Real ever since.

The talented attacker will now head to the U.S. to meet his new teammates on their preseason tour, as Madrid face Inter Milan, AS Roma and Manchester United. The club released the following statement on their website, as Rodriguez will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabue on Tuesday evening.

Real Madrid C. F. have reached an agreement with AS Mónaco FC to buy James Rodríguez, who will join the club for the next six seasons.

The player will be presented today, Tuesday 22 July, at 20:00 CET, in the Santiago Bernabéu’s presidential box.

Following that, James Rodríguez will take his first steps on the Santiago Bernabéu’s pitch wearing the Real Madrid jersey and will then answer questions from the media outlets in attendance in the press room.

The big question now is, where will James slot in to the Real line up?

[RELATED: Real to unveil Rodriguez on Tuesday, join club for US tour]

With Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria currently occupying the four attacking spots, something has to give. Di Maria is the most likely to leave as Rodriguez’s ability to play centrally or on the wing mean he can slot in anywhere alongside Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema.

James’ ability to create goals should not be underestimated as he led the French top-flight in assists last season with 12 and bagged a slightly modest total of nine goals during his debut campaign in Ligue 1. Monaco have certainly made a tidy profit on the man they signed for just $60 million last summer from FC Porto.

After this monster signing, I think we can start referring to Real as Los Galacticos once again… if you ever stopped doing that.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.