James, with Ancelotti, not Mourinho

James, with Ancelotti, not Mourinho

James Rodríguez didn't fly out to Los Angeles with the rest of the Real Madrid squad yesterday. His next destination is Bayern Munich, in a very complex operation. It’s a two-year loan deal, and Bayern are obliged to buy him outright at the end of the loan according to some commentators, while others refute this. It’s a tangled deal, which gets arounds FIFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and has enabled Madrid to offload the player for 45 million euros – significantly less than the 85 million they forked out for him three years ago. In any case, he’s going. He’s a wonderful player, who triumphed at Madrid under Ancelotti, seemed to hit a stumbling block with Benítez and failed to recapture his old form under Zidane. He’s a victim of his own making, Bale’s privileged status and Isco’s unwavering self belief.

James prospered under Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid

Morata left in limbo

Mourinho was keen to take him to Manchester United, and Álvaro Morata too – but  circumstances have left the striker in limbo. Morata is stranded in no man’s land – technically he is a Madrid player and yet it’s almost as though he isn’t. I guess that, like James, he is a victim of the club’s short-term plans. Madrid and United will meet twice over the summer – on the 23rd, in Santa Clara as part of the International Champions Cup – a sort of Americanized version of our Carranza tournament; and again, with much more at stake on 8th August, in the European Super Cup final in Skopje, Macedonia. The prospect of losing one of those games – especially the second one to a goal scored by James or Morata would be too much for Madrid to bear. So James toddles off to Bayern and we’ll see what happens with Morata.

LA-bound, Real Madrid

Real Madrid jet out to the US with a spring in their step

In the meantime, Madrid flew out for their North American tour happy and with spirits high. These are happy days at Real Madrid, with their second consecutive Champions League, the league title they have spent so many years yearning for and a predominantly Spanish squad packed with talent – something which has delighted many of the fans. Madrid won their sixth European Cup – the last one in ‘black and white’ with a side primarily made up of Spanish players – that team left their mark and defined an era; the current side has all of the right ingredients to do the same. With the emergence of Asensio and Carvajal, together with new arrivals Vallejo, Marcos Llorente, Ceballos and even the return of Borja Mayoral inspires optimism. Madrid’s young charges now form the backbone of Spain’s Under-21 side and that bodes well for the future.