James Rodriguez revealed that he was close to moving to Atlético Madrid from rivals Real last year before eventually moving to Everton.
It was almost a done
The Colombia forward moved to Goodison Park on a free shuttle after a pecking order dropped at Zidane at Santiago Bernabeu. At one stage, however, it looked like he was on his way to Wanda Metropolitano, only for Los Blancos to block the deal. Rodriguez says he had talks with Atletico boss Diego Simeone as he knew he would continue to fight for regular playing time at Zinedine.
According to the 29-year-old ESPN player, it was almost a deal to go to Atlético, he spoke to Simeone and coach said he could be important and Real didn’t let him go. President Perez knew that he would not play much with Zinedine. It was a bad year and he wanted to come to Everton to show what he could do.
Rodriguez ended up making the move to Everton, a transfer that surprised some quarters considering the Toffees finished only 12th last season. The forward admits that he would not have moved to Merseyside if Carlo Ancelotti had not been the prosecution, but jumped for the chance to reunite with the Italian at Goodison Park by working with him at Real and Bayern Munich.
James intends to end the season strongly
Rodriguez impressed on his debut season with the Toffees, scoring five goals and recording four assists in 18 Premier League appearances. The calf issue following the Merseyside derby win in February against Liverpool at Anfield meant an extended period on the sidelines, but now he’s back to full fitness and hopes to play Monday’s home match against Crystal Palace.
Ancelotti’s side-head is eighth on the weekend, points-to-point with Liverpool and three points behind fifth-placed West Ham. Rodriguez says he intends to end the season strongly in his last 10 games and secure his spot in Europe next season.