“If at first you don’t succeed try and try again” should be the quote that rings over and over in the mind of James Rodriguez as he gets a second chance to prove his worth at Real Madrid.
In 2014, never would he have imagined the events that transpired at the FIFA World Cup which set his career on a different course entirely.
He finished as the 2014 FIFA world Cup the top scorer, carried his team to the quarter-finals of the tournament and was second only to Lionel Messi in the run-in for the Player of the tournament award which many thought he deserved.
And who can forget that sumptuous volley against Uruguay? Pure class.
On this day in 2015, James Rodriguez won the Puskás Award for THAT goal at the 2014 World Cup 🇨🇴😍 pic.twitter.com/fBkjxjJdEd
— COPA90 (@Copa90) January 12, 2019
A year earlier James had just signed for AS Monaco. The thought of playing in the White of Madrid let alone being a Galactico himself would have barely crossed his mind. But there he was, unveiled as the new Madrid number 10 next to Florentino Perez as another monster ‘Galalactico’ signing following Gareth Bale the previous year.
It looked like the beginning of a new era and James would be one of those ushering Los Blancos into it but it was not to be a ‘happily ever after’ story for the Columbian after all.
His first season at the Club saw his team win the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup but not win any other trophy that season.
Individually, he was stellar and really looked like the real deal with 26 goals and 14 assists in all competitions. He bagged the La Liga Best Midfielder award, was selected in the La Liga Team of the Season as well as the UEFA Team of the Season.
It was evident that he was money well spent at the time. Fans were itching to see more.
The following campaign, Rafa Benitez was at the helm but it was not the same James Rodriguez of the previous season.
The team, in general, were unhappy with the fact that Carlo Ancelotti who preceded Benitez, was sacked.
By the turn of the year, there was another change in management and old boy Zinedine Zidane was appointed.
It turned out to be a decision which turned the fortune of the club right side up as they ended that season with a Champions League trophy.
James had little to no involvement in the Champions League as he played five games and scored a single goal.
The following season, Zinedine Zidane was appointed a permanent manager of the club and James’ run in the side was all but over as he was reduced to 31 appearances and fewer starts compared to 44 appearances in his first year.
His goal involvement took a plunge too with only eight goals scored and six assists
He then moved to Bayern on a two-year loan deal where he excelled and won two Bundesliga titles and one DFB Pokal.
He was also in the Bundesliga Team of the Season and the UEFA Team of the Season after the 2017/2018 Season
He had his chance to take revenge on his team in the Champions League Semi-Final two seasons ago but only just lost out in the end.
James Rodriguez at Bayern Munich 🇩🇪
👕 67 appearances
⚽️ 15 goals
🅰️ 20 assists
🏆🏆 Bundesliga titles
🏆 DFB-Pokal pic.twitter.com/yDETLB7DXf
— Goal (@goal) June 4, 2019
Some may say he came when the management of the team was not good enough but that’s debatable. Others may say he was too young (22 at the time he signed for Madrid) for such a platform and that’s debatable as well but the most important thing is that he is back and he is a Real Madrid player.
Granted he is back playing for the manager that loaned him out in the first place but he right now he is older, wiser and more experienced than he was back then and these attributes count for a lot of things to Coaches.
He is also playing in a team with less competition in his position.
Dani Ceballos has left the club on loan Marcos Llorente was sold to crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid. Add into the mix an ageing Luka Modric and you will find reasons as to why James Rodriguez could finally have his chance to be the Galactico his promise showed when he signed.
Right now, it is up to him to decide whether he wants it or not but a Matador never runs away from a bullfight.