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Real Salt Lake contact James Rodríguez ahead of São Paulo exit

The Colombian and the Brazilian side are set to go their separate ways with MLS and Salt Lake City possibly the next destination for the 32-year-old.

Sao Paulo's James Rodriguez

James Rodríguez’s spell with Brazilian football is about to end with the Colombian set to leave São Paulo FC despite having a contract valid until June 2025. According to Globo Esporte (Brazil), the player himself has asked for the deal to be terminated citing unhappiness and distance from his family as mitigating factors.

Colombia's midfielder James Rodriguez warms up
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Colombia's midfielder James Rodriguez warms up JUAN BARRETOAFP

James has not played an official match for more than two months and the last time he was on the field was on 26 November in the goalless draw against Cuiabá as part of the matchday 35 game in the 2023 Brasileirão. This year the midfielder has been involved in preseason without being called up for games in the Paulista Championship or for the Brazilian Super Cup last weekend.

After Wednesday’s match between Sao Paulo and Água Santa in Morumbi, where James also did not appear, the São Paulo press reports that the termination of the contract will be signed in the next few hours. “The club has already prepared a statement that will be published after the signing,” claims journalist Gabriel Sá.

According to Sá, James has several open conversations on the go with would-be suitors and plans to continue his career with Real Salt Lake a possible destination. This MLS team is coached by Argentine Pablo Mastroeni and has four Colombian players: Brayan Vera, Nelson Palacio, Carlos Andrés Gómez and Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango in the squad. A move to MLS has always been cited by the Colombian international as a possible destination with the 2024 MLS season set to start at the end of the month.

In addition to Real Salt Lake, the 32-year-old midfielder has also been linked to Besiktas (Turkey) with the Istanbul side considered as one of the big three in the Turkish SuperLig. The opportunity to return to Europe is also an attractive proposition on a personal level given that some of James’ family live in Madrid which is a four hour flight from Istanbul.

From a sporting perspective, Rodriguez is looking for continuous first team football which is essential for a place in the Colombia national team with the Copa América 2024 set to get underway in June with the Cafeteros also set to play two friendly matches in March against Spain and Romania.