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James Rodriguez will see out the terms of his two-year loan deal with Bayern Munich rather than return to parent club Real Madrid this summer.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed Friday that Colombia international Rodriguez will stay at the Allianz Arena, per ESPN FC’s Mark Lovell: “Lots of rumours that emanate from Spain are not true. The contract situation of the player is well known to everyone. James will definitely play for us this season, and I expect him to play for Bayern beyond that.”
Lovell also noted how Spanish sources Marca and La Sexta had previously reported Rodriguez is keen on a return to the Spanish capital.
However, Rummenigge pouring cold water on those rumours comes after new Bayern coach Niko Kovac also played down the idea, per Marca: “As of today, it is clear that James will stay at Bayern.”
Matthias Balk/Associated Press
Meanwhile, the player’s agency, Gestifute, made clear how Rodriguez has to stay in the Bundesliga for the 2018/19 campaign because there’s no break clause in his loan deal, according to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC.
Bayern wanting to keep James makes sense despite a plethora of talented wide forwards in the squad Kovac inherited. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are still around, although the former is 34 and the latter 35.
At least 22-year-old Kingsley Coman is still around as an heir apparent to Die Roten’s two wing wizards. Rodriguez can also play on the flanks but offers more versatility as a natural No. 10 who thrives behind the striker.
The South American’s vision and flair can help unlock any defence. He reminded everyone of his creative skills after moving to the German top flight last summer, chipping in with eight goals and 13 assists in all competitions:
James Rodriguez: Made more successful final third passes (449) than any other player in the Bundesliga last season
For more player stats — https://t.co/KXnl0pRZKo https://t.co/kaXAjEA5nA
Rodriguez continued showing off his eye for a pass during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, providing a pair of assists to help Los Cafeteros reach the round of 16 before injury ended his tournament prematurely:
Squawka Football @Squawka
James Rodríguez has now been directly involved in 10 goals in seven #WorldCup appearances.
6 goals ⚽
4 assists 🅰️
From Russia with Love. https://t.co/noKhbjTVV2
Kovac would be wise to build his team around Rodriguez as its creative fulcrum, something that didn’t happen at Real while Zinedine Zidane was in charge.
The player’s stepfather, Juan Carlos Restrepo, recently said Rodriguez has already been in contact with Zidane’s replacement Julen Lopetegui, per Joshua Peck of the Daily Express: “They talked about it 15 days ago or so. It was a brief but fruitful conversation. We’ve analyzed what Lopetegui tries to accomplish with his teams, and I believe that his style favours players who try to dazzle people with their skills, such as is James’ case.”
However, it appears Los Blancos and Lopetegui will have to look outside their own house to identify and secure a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.