What does the future hold for James Rodriguez?
When James Rodriguez made the move from Monaco to Real Madrid in 2014, it was a dream come true for the Colombian. He made this known to the Spanish club while being unveiled, promising to do his best for the serial winners in the years to come.
I've always followed Real Madrid and always dreamed of playing here. I've suffered a lot to get here and when you do that then it tastes so much better. I will never forget this day. I hope to work hard, to train well, and to experience a lot of joy here. I know I am under a lot of pressure, but I am happy to face it.
Unfortunately, sometimes dreams become nightmares. So it became for Rodriguez when he was relegated to Madrid's fringes under Zinedine Zidane. That culminated in his departure from the Santiago Bernabéu in 2017 on a two-year loan deal to Bayern Munich. The German champions have the option to make the deal permanent this summer.
After featuring regularly for Bayern under both Carlo Ancelotti and Jupp Heynckes, another change in the dugout last summer means Rodriguez is working with his third manager in two years. Everything had gone according to plan until recently when rumours began to emerge of some misunderstanding with current boss Niko Kovac regarding playing time.
In a recent report published by BILD, Rodriguez was said to have launched a stinging attack on his coach in the dressing room.
"We're not at Frankfurt here," he exclaimed.
This was reported after the playmaker didn't take any part in the 1-1 draw with Augsburg before being left on the bench for the Champions League draw at home to Ajax. Quite naturally, no manager will be happy at a player challenging his authority in such a manner. It could mean Rodriguez has no future at Bayern as long as Kovac remains in charge.
It is difficult to say for sure why Rodriguez is frustrated given he has started five of Bayern's 11 Bundesliga games this season, as well as come off the bench three times. However, it is understandable a player of his calibre will want to be first-choice. After all, he left Madrid due to not starting regularly.
Bayern's failure to make any move toward buying Rodriguez outright is a more telling sign. While the club's hierarchy had indicated a desire to complete the deal initially, no statement or effort has been made in that respect recently. The player is now approaching the remaining six months of his loan deal.
Rodriguez is still contracted to Los Blancos until 2020. That means he could return to the Bernabéu to see out the remaining one year of his contract. However, given the attacker's relationship with La Liga giants, a sale is more likely.
Rodriguez has spoken of his desire to remain in Germany. But if the Bavarians pass up the deal, he won't lack suitors elsewhere. Both Manchester United and Juventus are reportedly interested in signing the 26-year-old. Chelsea, too.
It is certain Rodriguez would walk into any top European side. His technique, vision and playmaking skills separate him from the pack. He would vastly improve Man United's much-maligned midfield. A reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo could also further strengthen Juve's attacking prowess.