James, come home: Mourinho in pole position for Real star

The Colombian was substituted on the hour mark - his season in miscrocosm - and appeared to take his leave of the Bernabéu
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James, come home: Mourinho in pole position for Real star

When James Rodríguez left the pitch half an hour before the whistle in Real Madrid’s 4-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday night, he performed two 360-degree turns and applauded the four corners of the Bernabeú with the air of a man who knew he was playing his last game on the hallowed turf.

James sits down for final time

If the Colombia international leaves Madrid - and Manchester United have emerged as his most likely destination – it will bring to an end a dream he had harboured for many years. When he was presented in front of 45,000 fans in July 2014 after winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Brazil James was touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner. It would have been easy to imagine the Colombian flourishing under Zidane, who James described as “my idol” before his move to Madrid. When at Banfield in Argentina, Olé dubbed James “a Colombian version of Cristiano Ronaldo,” but after a good first season at the Bernabéu his stock has dropped to the extent that his idol, Zidane, has forced him to seek his fortune elsewhere. In front of a full house on Sunday, James waved goodbye as he headed towards the all too familiar bench.

As a result of his inactivity at the Bernabéu James’ transfer value has dropped from the 80 million euros Real paid Monaco to around 50 million now.

Mourinho and Manchester United lead the queue

Colombian writer Gustavo Bolívar said on social media after the game: “James has given us a fine lesson in dignity. You can be in heaven, but if you’re not happy it’s better to leave.” From heaven to José Mourinho’s Red Devils, according to Colombian private broadcaster RCN, who reported that James has reached a pre-agreement with United and Mourinho, who shares his agent, Jorge Mendes.

On the horizon is a potential reunion if James does move to Old Trafford: On July 23 Real Madrid and Manchester United will meet in a friendly game in Santa Clara as part of the International Champions Cup. Always assuming of course there are no further soap operas like David de Gea and the dodgy fax machine…


Photo album | James Rodríguez' five trophies at Real Madrid.