Saturday saw Bayern Munich face Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena. In attendance was new Colombia manager Carlos Queiroz, watching one of his teams biggest names. James Rodriguez started in the 1-0 win, contributing an assist along the way. One of the Colombian’s better performances in recent months, Rodriguez has been struggling. Failing to make an impact, a poor relationship with his manager and an uncertain future, it’s time to discuss whether or not the 27-year-old midfielder has a future in Munich.
Does James Rodriguez Have a Future at Bayern Munich?
The Season So Far
After an impressive first season in Munich, Rodriguez has struggled under his new manager. Starting the season slowly, the Colombian has looked a shadow of his former self on the pitch. Under former manager Jupp Heynckes, the supremely talented midfielder was a key man. Scoring seven goals and contributing eleven assists in just 23 games, he looked set to play a role at the club for many years to come. However, with Heynckes moving on, new manager Niko Kovač was appointed, a decision which has thrown the Colombian’s future up in the air. Under Kovač, Rodriguez has struggled. The first 11 games of the season saw him finish a full 90 minutes just once. During that same spell, he was an unused substitute on three occasions, including the 3-2 loss to title rivals Borussia Dortmund.
This shocked the Bayern faithful, as fans demanded to know why one of their best players was left sitting on the bench. Many believed there had been a falling out, but this wasn’t the case as Rodriguez had a ruptured knee ligament. This would set back what had already been a demoralising season. He would return to the starting lineup in February, missing just under four months with the injury. Back from injury and the 27-year-old was finally getting a good run in the team. Starting four Bundesliga games in a row and playing 88 minutes against Liverpool in the Champions League, Rodriguez was finally given a prolonged chance to prove he belongs. However, the extra game time brought even more scrutiny, leading to criticism of his performances. Now in the spotlight, contributing just three goals and five assists all season was deemed not good enough.
Relationship with Niko Kovač
Since taking over, the relationship between player and manager has been a difficult one. Like most managers, Kovač values his system more than individuals. Struggling to find a regular place for the Colombian, the player has become unsettled. Dropping in and out of the team is good for no player, leading to a major drop in form. Rodriguez has the ability but as the season has gone on, his doubters are slowly being proved right. A talented player in the wrong system and maybe even under the wrong manager, James Rodriguez is being pushed back to Madrid. A disappointing situation, the only way to avoid an ugly ending is both player and manager finding a way to compliment each other. Unfortunately, there have been no signs of any improvement between the pair. As the environment in Munich becomes more unsettling, the once invaluable Rodriguez wants to go home.
Munich or Madrid?
Currently, on loan from Real Madrid, the Colombian is on the verge of finishing his two-year spell in Munich. Bayern has a buy-option, an option the club intends to trigger. However, with the 27-year-old unsettled, it’s unlikely the player will want to extend his time with the club. Interviewed by Cadena Cope’s El Partidazo after the Liverpool game, Rodriguez made his intentions clear. “In Madrid, I have everything. I have a house and people who love me. We will have to see what happens, but at the moment I have a contract with Bayern Munich. I just want to finish the season and we’ll see what happens.” Always a model professional, it’s clear the midfielder misses home. This could play a big role in deciding his future moving forward.
James Rodriguez is still a sought after player, despite his struggles this season. Creating three chances per game, he leads all Bayern players. Capable of changing a game at any time, his creative impact makes him one of the world’s best. However, if you fail to create a good environment for the Colombian to work in, he’s always going to struggle. Bayern as a club could be forced to chose between one of their best player’s and their manager come seasons end.
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