Colombia legend Faustino Asprilla has claimed that James Rodríguez’s friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo is having a bad influence on the Real Madrid midfielder.
Bolshie body language
The ex-Newcastle United striker told ESPN that James’ bolshie body language in Colombia’s 3-0 loss to Argentina on Tuesday was reminiscent of the on-pitch gestures that Ronaldo has been criticised for in recent seasons when things haven’t been going his way.
“Lately what I am seeing from James – who I love and respect a lot – is that his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid is damaging him,” said Asprilla. “He makes the same gestures when they don’t give him the ball [in the Colombia team]. When they don’t give Cristiano the ball he gesticulates to everyone. In Colombia [James] waves his arms at his teammates.”
‘El Tino’ highlighted a specific incident in the Argentina match as an example. “At the start of the game he scowled at Álavarez Balanta and made a gesture. I don’t know if it was because he didn’t pass the ball or not.”
"In another team they'd give him a slap"
Asprilla – usually a staunch supporter of James – made his distaste clear at his compatriot’s behaviour, insinuating that Rodríguez wouldn’t have got away with that if he was playing back in the 90s.
“The first thing James needs to do is help his teammates improve because he’s playing in a team of youngsters who respect him and no one dares say anything to him. But in another team they’d give him a slap. At least in the Colombia side I played in we wouldn’t stand for it.
"He's picked it up from Ronaldo"
“It’s all a bit ugly,” continued Asprilla. “It’s normal to argue with the referee and quarrel with rival players, but with your teammates it’s not. You can quarrel, but doing it because one of your teammates didn’t pass the ball is the ugliest thing you can do as a footballer. He’s picked up that habit from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does it every eight days.”