James reveals Zidane dream

The 23-year-old says he idolised the Frenchman, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos during their respective playing days at the Santiago Bernabeu

James Rodriguez has revealed his lifelong dream to follow in the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane after being unveiled as a Real Madrid player.

The 23-year-old has signed a six-year contract at the Santiago Bernabeu after Madrid agreed an €80 million deal with Monaco – making him the third most expensive Blancos player of all-time after Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

The Colombia international was paraded in front of 40,000 supporters on Tuesday evening and revealed he has always been a fan of the club and the man now in charge of the club’s reserve side.

“I always idolised Zidane,” James revealed after being presented to the media.

Zidane, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos. I was always a Real Madrid fan. I always followed them and always dreamed about being here.”

Falcao – who has played alongside James for Colombia and Monaco – has been tipped to follow him to Madrid, but the former Porto star says he hasn’t discussed that prospect with the striker, but admitted he is more than good enough to play for the club.

He’s not told me anything. We don’t talk about it. Falcao’s a great goalscorer and could play here, but that’s for the club.”

Despite following the likes of Clarence Seedorf and Luis Figo in wearing the famous No.10 jersey for Madrid, James added his willingness to operate in any position coach Carlo Ancelotti sees fit.

I’ll play where the gaffer decides. In the middle, on the right or on the left.”

The South American star will battle it out with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Isco for a place in Madrid’s front four.


07 2014
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James will seduce fans – Perez

The Real Madrid president was wholesome in his praise of the 23-year-old as he was unveiled in front of 40,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeu

Florentino Perez has backed James Rodriguez to “seduce” supporters after completing his €80 million move from Monaco to Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old was unveiled as a Madrid player in front of 44,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday evening following the completion of his medical and signing of a six-year deal with the club.

James joins the club on the back of a fine World Cup in which he walked away with the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, and Perez hopes he can replicate that form for Madrid.

Today arrives a man who seduces football fans, has led an extraordinary Colombian national team, a player who was one of the sensations of the World Cup,” the Madrid president enthused.

“Their brilliant game and his goals have confirmed him as one of best at the World Cup, with the Golden Boot and the best goal of the tournament. Welcome to James Rodriguez!”

James spent just one season with Monaco after joining the club for €45 million from Porto last summer, but made no secret of his desire to become a Madrid player with a string of comments during the World Cup.

That desire to wear the Madrid jersey was not lost on Perez, who revealed his pride at giving the Colombia star the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of many of his childhood heroes.

He added: “You have never hidden your passion for our shirt. Every time you have been asked you answered proudly.

“Today you will intensely remember the first time you visited the Bernabeu and you said you wanted to play here. That dream has just begun. The boy who dreamed of wearing the shirt of [Zindedine] Zidane, Raul and [David] Beckham is now a Real Madrid player.”

The deal makes James the fourth most expensive footballer of all-time, while he will wear the No. 10 shirt for the club.


07 2014
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Monaco: We didn't want to sell James

The club’s vice-chairman claims shipping the Colombian to Real Madrid was never part of the plan this summer but stressed that the Ligue 1 side remain ambitious

Monaco CEO Vadim Vasilyev has insisted that the club had no intention of selling James Rodriguez prior to Real Madrid’s reported €80 million offer.

The Ligue 1 side were unable to resist the bumper profit on the 23-year-old, who had been signed for €45 million last summer, and the transfer was completed on Tuesday.

James starred at World Cup 2014, winning the Golden Boot (top goalscorer) and Goal of the Tournament while narrowly missing out on the Golden Ball (best player) award to Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

His performances as Colombia reached the quarter-final convinced European champions Real Madrid to splash the cash, but the club’s vice-chairman stressed that Monaco’s ambition has not wavered despite the departure setback.

“Monaco are proud to have helped James Rodriguez reveal his talent to the world as he notably made his mark on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil winning the Golden Boot,” Vasilyev told the Stade Louis II side’s official website.

“James is a fantastic player who achieved great things with Monaco and the club had no intention to sell the player.

“However the time came when the solution of a transfer was considered to be the most beneficial solution for all parties. Monaco are proud to be a part to one of the most significant transfers in football history.

“Monaco are a club that will continue to grow and remain focused on the future. More than ever we have the ambition to strengthen our team and continue to progress for next season.”

The principality club finished second in Ligue 1 last season and will compete in the Champions League in 2014-15, albeit without Madrid-bound James.


07 2014
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Official: Real Madrid sign James Rodriguez

The Champions League winners have secured the services of the Colombia international on a six-year deal

Real Madrid have announced on their official website that they have completed the transfer of James Rodriguez from Monaco for a reputed fee of €88 million.

The Liga giants had been linked with a move for the creative midfielder ever since he impressed at the World Cup and James has now signed a contract until the summer of 2020 with the Santiago Bernabeu club after passing his medical.

James started his professional career with Envigado and also wore the Banfield and Porto jerseys before joining Monaco for €45m last year.

He impressed in his first season at the Ligue 1 side, scoring nine goals in 34 league appearances to help Monaco to second place in the table and qualification for the Champions League.

The attacking midfielder was also one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup as he picked up the Golden Boot and the Goal of the Tournament award following his sublime performances for Colombia, earning himself a move to Madrid in the process.

James is the Bernabeu side’s second signing of the summer transfer window after the previous capture of Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich.

The arrival of the Colombia star likely means the end of Isco’s spell at Madrid, with Liverpool and Manchester City keeping a close eye on his situation in the Spanish capital.


07 2014
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Ronaldo: I want to keep playing until 2021

The Portugal star has stressed he is not thinking about retirement just yet and has set his sights on more silverware in 2014-15

Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he wants to keep playing at the highest level for at least six or seven more seasons and insists his injury problems are behind him.

The prolific attacker was plagued by fitness issues in the build-up to the World Cup and failed to make a significant as Portugal crashed out in the group stages, with some reports even suggesting he was risking the remainder of his career by playing through the pain in Brazil.

However, the 29-year-old has stressed that he is raring to go ahead of the new season and is eager to continue playing until well into his mid-thirties.

“I would like to play six or seven more years at the top level of club competition,” the Portugal star said at a sponsor’s event in Tokyo.

“I’m really focused. My injury is gone. I feel very, very good. I really want to get going again and stay in good shape until the end of the season.”

Ronaldo went on to stress he is desperate to win more titles with Madrid after last season’s success in the Copa del Rey and Champions League.

“Last season was amazing. We now have the opportunity to win five or six titles in the new season, which is fantastic,” he said.

“I’ll try my best the entire season like I do it every year. I’ll try to be the best, try to help my team, try to score goals and try to win titles.”

Ronaldo did not travel to the USA for Real Madrid’s pre-season tour with the initial 20-man squad, though he is expected to join up with the rest of the team on July 26.

The 29-year-old is not the only big name who has been allowed extra rest following the World Cup, with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Angel Di Maria, Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema all travelling later this week.

Xabi Alonso, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao are the only players in the 20-man squad who featured in Brazil, while other high-profile names to make the trip include Diego Lopez, Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Arbeloa, Asier Illarramendi, Isco and Gareth Bale.

Madrid will play Inter, Roma and Manchester United between 27 July and 2 August.


07 2014
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