James Rodríguez Plots Real Madrid Exit Strategy Ahead of Champions League Final

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It’s not silly season yet – the Champions League final, EURO 2016, and Copa América are fitting culminations to a soccer season that in many ways has been topsy-turvy – but soccer is a never-ending carousel and next season looms large already.

James Rodríguez must be thinking so too. The Colombian has been deeply unhappy at Real Madrid. In his second season in the Spanish capital, Rodríguez, Colombia’s playmaker at the 2014 World Cup, became a peripheral player, playing in 32 games.

James is a pure No. 10. That’s awkward at Real Madrid, where the Colombian has nowhere really to fit into a 4-3-3 formation. A panoply of problems caused Rodríguez’s disastrous season: Copa América fatigue, injuries, Rafael Benítez’s conservative approach, and a loss of form.

Amid all the negativity, it’s often forgotten that Rodríguez did have an outstanding first season, justifying his high transfer fee by integrating rapidly into the team and scoring 17 goals.

Both PSG and Manchester United have been linked to the No. 10. The north of England would be Rodríguez preferred destination, according to reports. Yesterday, Louis van Gaal was sacked as Manchester United’s manager, and Jose Mourinho will officially be confirmed as coach of Manchester United soon.

Another option would be the French capital for Rodríguez. PSG are prepared to offer a train-smashing $128 million as the club prepares for the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era. PSG want to regenerate and further establish their position among the European elite. But his predicament would be the same: PSG’s 4-3-3 has denied Javier Pastore’s preferred playmaking spot as well.

Whatever his choice, Rodríguez wants playing time and a spot in the limelight.