Colombia have had a rough international break. They suffered their worst home defeat in 82 years against Uruguay in Barranquilla before losing 6-1 to Ecuador in Quito, and now there’s rumours of discord within the camp.
That’s according to Javier Hernandez Bonnet in the Blue Radio Sports Blog as quoted in Marca. The claim is that two players fought in the dressing room after the Ecuador game and that the two players involved were ex-Real Madrid star James Rodriguez and Jefferson Lerma.
This has not been confirmed, but if true it would represent a real blow to the composition of a team under serious pressure in recent times. The source alleges that the international break has been marked by a general malaise and that the fracas in Ecuador served as the culmination of this atmosphere.
Next up for Colombia is a clash with CONMEBOL leaders Brazil on March 25th before a trip to Paraguay five days later. Colombia are currently seventh in CONMEBOL qualifying, three points clear of bottom-placed Bolivia and eight behind Brazil.
Colombia have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. James is their star player and an icon of football in Colombia and Latin America, so him being at the centre of any discord is significant.
James joined Madrid in 2014 from Monaco after starring in the 2014 World Cup. He spent six years contracted to the club (two of which on loan at Bayern Munich) before joining Premier League side Everton this past summer, where international teammate Yerry Mina also plays.
CONMEBOL qualifying is renowned as one of the most difficult in the world. Teams have to travel incredibly long distances to play often hotly contested games. If you fall behind in the campaign, as Colombia have done, it can be difficult to get back on track.
Featured image courtesy of Sky Sports.