The stepfather of out-of-favour Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez has explained the player wanted to join Atletico Madrid last summer.
The Colombian started in Sunday’s victory at Real Sociedad – the first time he had featured in La Liga at all since the 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca in October, not playing a minute of league football since.
James has subsequently been strongly linked with a move away from the Spanish capital this summer amid suggestions that he and Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane do not have a close relationship.
“In my opinion, as James’ adoptive father, I think that because of his daughter, staying in Spain was the best possibility and especially if he could stay in Madrid,” Juan Carlos Restrepo is cited as saying by Colombian media outlet Gol Caracol.
“James would have preferred to go to Atletico in a transfer. This does not mean that there were no attempts and appreciations from other clubs as well. He feels comfortable in Spain, on a personal level, and was not convinced about changing countries.
“But in the end, Madrid, who want to dominate in Spain and the world, still considers the player to be important to his team and decided not to sell him. This was the official position.”
The Colombia midfielder’s contract expires in 2021 and a report from April in Diario AS claimed Manchester United, Everton, Juventus and Napoli were all among the clubs interested.
The former Porto playmaker returned to Los Blancos last summer following a two-year loan deal at Bayern Munich.
James netted 15 goals and provided 20 assists in 67 games for the Bavarian club between 2017 and 2019.
“Bruno Fernandes told me that, as a kid, he had a poster of me. He said that when he played Football Manager he always signed me. I was like, ‘You had me on a poster? And, seriously, you sign me for FM?’ I mean, how weird is that?” – Find out who said this right here.