What Happened to James Rodriguez?

James Rodriguez, the Colombian footballer known for his genius and unforgettable goals, has had a career full of ups and downs.

From his promising start at Real Madrid to his recent move to Al Rayyan in Qatar, James has left many fans wondering what could have been. Despite his undeniable talent, questions have arisen about his professionalism and dedication to the sport.

Throughout his journey, James has encountered various managerial changes that have impacted his performance on the field. Despite this, he has had moments of brilliance, such as his double-double in the 2016-2017 season and his resurgence at Everton.

In this guide, we’ll explore the life of the footballer from his rise and early promise to his unsettling departure.

Key Takeaways

  • James Rodriguez had a promising start to his career at Real Madrid but encountered various managerial changes that impacted his performance.
  • Despite moments of brilliance, questions have arisen about James’ professionalism and dedication to the sport.
  • His recent move to Al Rayyan in Qatar has left many questioning if he truly lived up to his potential.

James Rodriguez: The Early Promise

james rodriquez columbia

James Rodriguez’s move to Real Madrid in 2014 for a whopping $94 million was a testament to his talent and potential.

The Colombian had impressed at the 2014 World Cup, scoring six goals and winning the Golden Boot, and Real Madrid saw him as the perfect addition to their star-studded squad.

In his first season at Real Madrid, Rodriguez played under manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was like a guardian angel to him. Rodriguez performed well and consistently, with 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 matches.

However, the changing of managers and an injury at the start of the season led to a less busy season for Rodriguez in the following year.

Despite being seen as a rotation player by manager Zinedine Zidane, Rodriguez still managed to pull off a double-double in the 2016-2017 season with 11 goals and 12 assists. His strengths as an offensive midfielder or right winger were evident, and he was a valuable player for the team.

The 2016/2017 Season Performance

In the 2016-2017 season, James Rodriguez continued to show his strengths even if Zidane only saw him as a rotation player.

Despite not necessarily being a hard worker for the team and sometimes employed as an offensive midfielder or right-winger, he still managed to pull off a double-double with 11 goals and 12 assists, which is decent for a player on the second team.

This was good enough for a player who was bought for $94 million, a testament to his talent. His ability to score goals and provide assists showed that he was a valuable asset to the team.

Real Madrid won La Liga that season and James Rodriguez played a vital role in the success.

Managerial Changes and Impact

James Rodriguez’s career has been marked by multiple managerial changes, which have had a significant impact on his performance and playing time. During his first season at Real Madrid, he played under Carlo Ancelotti, who had a positive influence on his game. James performed well and consistently.

However, Ancelotti was fired at the end of the season, and Rafael Benitez replaced him. This changing of managers, coupled with an injury at the start of the season, led to James having a less busy season.

But Rafael Benitez’s reign was short. Zinedine Zidane took over just six months later, in January 2016. Zidane saw James as a rotation player, and he was not necessarily a hard worker for the team, sometimes employed as an offensive midfielder or right winger.

The Carlo Ancelotti Connection

Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich

carlo ancelloti

After leaving Real Madrid, Ancelotti became the manager of Bayern Munich, where he won the 2017 Bundesliga with a more direct style. At the start of the 2017-2018 season, Ancelotti decided to change his offensive setup and gave Rodriguez a call.

Despite a complicated start, Rodriguez’s loan season at Bayern was still a success, with eight goals and 14 assists in 39 matches.

Ancelotti was later fired, and James again found himself orphaned by his Italian uncle. His second season at Bayern was not at the same level, with his performances not being good enough and coupled with a series of physical problems.

The new manager, Nico Kovac, did not see him as a starter, and the Colombian asked Bayern not to activate the option to buy, returning to his starting point, Real Madrid, in 2019-2020.

Carlo Ancelotti at Everton

Uncle Carlo came looking for Rodriguez and brought him to Everton when he managed the side from 2019 to 2021. The Colombian midfielder arrived at Goodison Park on a free transfer and quickly made an impact in the Premier League. There, Rodriguez rediscovered his good form, a certain level of consistency, and, above all, his smile.

Despite some injury setbacks, Rodriguez showed his class and creativity on the pitch, providing crucial assists and scoring important goals for his team. He formed a strong partnership with fellow new signing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and the two players quickly became fan favorites. James finished the 2020-2021 season with six goals and nine assists in 26 matches.

Carlo Ancelotti played a crucial role in James Rodriguez’s career. The Italian manager first met Rodriguez during his time at Real Madrid, where he became the player’s “guardian angel.”

The Munich Chapter

James Rodriguez’s stint at Bayern Munich was marked by a changing of managers and mixed performances. After a successful first season under Carlo Ancelotti, Rodriguez struggled to find his place in the team under new manager Jupp Heynckes.

Despite this, Rodriguez still managed to contribute with 8 goals and 14 assists in 39 matches in his first season. However, his second season was not at the same level, as he suffered from physical problems and struggled to perform consistently.

New manager Nico Kovac did not see Rodriguez as a starter, so the Colombian returned to Real Madrid in 2019.

Return to Madrid

james rodriguez return to real madrid

James Rodriguez returned to Real Madrid for the 2019-2020 season. However, his reunion with Zinedine Zidane did not go as planned. The Colombian midfielder struggled to find his place in the team and suffered from a series of physical problems that limited his playing time.

Despite his difficulties, Rodriguez managed to contribute to the team’s success. He finished the season with one goal and two assists in eight appearances.

However, his relationship with Zidane remained strained, and Rodriguez decided to leave the club once again. This time, he joined Al Rayyan in Qatar, where he has a clause that allows him to join PSG for free.

Rodriguez’s departure from Real Madrid was not without controversy. Some fans and pundits criticized him for not living up to his potential and questioned his professionalism. Others argued that he was not given enough opportunities to showcase his talents under Zidane’s management.

The Move to Qatar

After his stint with Everton, James Rodriguez made a surprising move to Al Rayyan in Qatar.

At the age of 30, he joined the team with a clause that allowed him to join PSG for free. While this move was financially beneficial for the Colombian, many fans and analysts were disappointed that he chose to continue his career in Qatar, a league that is not considered as competitive as the top European leagues.

Despite this, Rodriguez’s move to Al Rayyan was officialized, and he began playing for the team. While he may have been short on luck in his previous teams, he was able to earn a lot of money in Qatar.

His professionalism only came into question after he was seen taking a photo on vacation in Ibiza while the season had already resumed.


James Rodriguez’s career has been full of ups and downs. He started off with a lot of promise, impressing at the Brazilian World Cup in 2014 and securing a move to Real Madrid for a whopping $94 million.

He performed well in his first season, but the changing of managers and an injury at the start of the next season led to a less busy season for him. Despite solid stats in the following season, Rodriguez was still seen as a rotation player.

He eventually left Real Madrid and had stints at Bayern Munich and Everton before joining Al Rayyan in Qatar. And while he may not have lived up to his $94 million price tag, he has still had a successful career and will be remembered as a talented player.

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