Colombia national team manager Jose Pekerman believes that sometimes “great talents” like James Rodriguez don’t fit in with certain clubs because of a difference in style and a lack of understanding in Europe regarding the South American player.
Rodriguez, 25, was not a key player for Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid over the course of their 2016-17 campaign that ended with a La Liga-Champions League Double. The Colombia international was even left out of the matchday squad in the 4-1 UCL final win against Juventus.
And speculation about Rodriguez’s future at Real Madrid — who paid €80 million for him in the summer of 2014 after his breakout World Cup in Brazil — has been rampant, with his appearance in a 4-1 win against Sevilla at the Bernabeu possibly his last in front of the Los Blancos faithful.
Pekerman said: “It is not the first time that there are great talents that in certain places can feel frustrated, because the styles or the football similarities do not coincide.
“In football, full of pressure and with high dependence on the results, sometimes we need a player able to break the lines, this player with another kind of game.
“In general, the South American player is not so understood in Europe, because his style and creativity needs a stability that sometimes he cannot find.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez maintains that final choice over Rodriguez’s future rests with Zidane, while adding if it were up to him all their top players would stay.
Manchester United are atop a list of suitors from some or Europe’s top clubs that are said to be interested in signing Rodriguez, and Pekerman insists there is a place for his national team star somewhere.
“He feels happy with the national team,” said the 67-year-old ahead of his team’s friendly against Spain on Wednesday. “He wants to succeed here and accomplish things. Hopefully he can keep fighting in his current club and if not in this one, in another one that can value his abilities.
“He is headstrong and works towards that. From our side, we always ask him to battle in order to find his place and to impose his abilities despite the difficulties. And he tries.
“I always perceived that the biggest players have this rebel character of wanting to play. They don’t like to be on the outside. There is always a cost.
“We all want to have a good player, but when we have it, sometimes we ask him to do something that is not what he can do.”
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