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JAMES RODRÍGUEZ

Colombia star James Rodríguez to leave Olympiacos: where will the ex-Real Madrid man go next?

The Colombian international has struggled with injuries during his time in Greece and will not be offered a new contract.

Update:
The Colombian international has struggled with injuries during his time in Greece and will not be offered a new contract.
KIM HONG-JIREUTERS

Colombian star James Rodríguez has confirmed that he will not play for Greek giants Olympiacos next season, as previously revealed by AS. The former Real Madrid playmaker will leave the club in June upon the expiration of his contract and on Thursday posted a thank you message to fans of the club on social media.

“I would like to thank everyone for all the time that we have spent together. although we are going our separate ways, I feel that I will always be a member and welcomed in the family of the great port Piraeus. I wish all the best to Olympiacos and every success in the future”.

Why is James leaving Olympiacos?

The 90-times capped Colombia international started the 2022-23 season in spectacular fashion in the Greece but injuries in the last three months have limited his impact in recent times. Top management at Olympiacos were hoping to extend his current deal before he was hit by fitness issues but have performed a U-turn due to James’ high wages and underperformance over the course of the campaign.

Which clubs want to sign the Colombian for next season?

On top of that, it is believed that James himself is keen to leave and play in a more competitive league, with some of the biggest clubs in Turkey already having been in touch with his agent, Jorge Mendes, over a possible summer transfer. Galatasaray and Besiktas are the two that have shown most interest so far.

Galatasaray are the current leaders of the Turkish SüperLig, six points clear of second-placed Fenerbahçe. Should they lift the league title, they will qualify for the first qualifying round of the Champions League and will be on the lookout for players with experience of the competition that can lead them into the group stages. James, of course, fits the bill.

On top of that, former Manchester United man Juan Mata’s contract at the club expires at the end of the season and Galatasaray see James as the perfect replacement for the former Spain international.

James Rodríguez was the top goalscorer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
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James Rodríguez was the top goalscorer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. ENRIQUE CASTRO-MENDIVILREUTERS

Besiktas hoping to rival Galatasaray for James

Besiktas, meanwhile, are another of Turkey’s biggest clubs but may be a less attractive proposition as things stand. The appear to be assured of a top-three finish, which would see them play in Europe next season, but a place in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds looks to be the best they can hope for, unless they can bridge an eight-point gap to city rivals Galatasaray in the remaining few weeks of the season.