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James is Real Madrid's greatest mystery


James Rodríguez is Madrid’s greatest mystery this summer. Florentino wants to keep him, because in certain ways he’s the prototype galáctico: an exquisite attacking midfielder who is number one in his country (and a rather large country, at that). But he doesn’t convince Zidane though. One of the things that Florentino likes is a complete team, where attack and defence come together, where some players have good feet and others strong legs, where some sit and wait and others cover every blade. In other words, a team which fully compliments each other.

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James can be in a class of his own, but...

James can be in class of his own and he started formidably well at the Bernabéu. Ancelotti achieved the miracle of combining the BBC with a midfield made of Modric, Kroos and James (and sometimes Isco). It worked thanks to the hard work of those midfield three, and if he missed out on league titles it was largely due to the long absences of Modric. But inside the space of a year, Kroos continued to impress while James, not so much. And Benítez paid the price. Not long after arriving, Zidane reformed the team with Casemiro coming in. As attacking midfielders, James and Isco were left out, and as long as the BBC plays there won’t be any room for them. So now, the roles of James and Isco are reduced to mostly sitting on the substitutes’ bench, with extra pressure coming from the competition provided by Asensio, who’s not a bad player either.

Selling James could fund Pogba move

James let himself down last season. His wife (who is goalkeeper David Ospina’s sister) spent months in Bogotá taking part in the Colombian version of the TV programme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and the sudden state of bachelorhood seemed to affect him. When he played, he was different and much worse than we’d gotten used to. Selling him could open up a lot of funds, and who knows, help contribute to the arrival of Pogba. Zidane, in that case, would have a lot more vigour in the centre of the park.