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Can this Copa America restore James Rodriguez's reptutation?

Tuesday 25th June 2019
Rodriguez is currently in fine form for Colombia
Rodriguez is currently in fine form for Colombia

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Luka Modric raised his career to an exceptional height with brilliant displays in last year's World Cup. Thanks to the Croatian midfielder's exploits in Russia, he soon defied the odds to become the first player other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the prestigious Ballon d'Or since 2007.   

Modric isn't the only man to have taken such an opportunity. His club colleague, James Rodriguez also enjoyed a similar breakthrough in the 2014 World Cup. The Colombian claimed both the FIFA Puskas Award and Golden Shoe. His six goals enabled Colombia to reach the quarter-final stage.    

Every four years, the World Cup provides players the chance to display their talents to a global audience. Their names are thrust into the limelight and their careers pushed on. Rodriguez grabbed his opportunity with both hands. His prolific outing in Brazil was rewarded that summer with a big-money move to Real Madrid.  

A lot was expected of the attacking midfielder following his £63 million transfer from Monaco. While he enjoyed a promising debut campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu, recording 17 goals along with 18 assists in all competitions, his performance has been on the reverse ever since. 

Rodriguez' struggles started after manager Carlo Ancelotti was sacked in May 2015. He fell out of grace gradually before things escalated when Zinedine Zidane was appointed Madrid boss. 

Despite 11 goals and 12 assists during the 2016/17 campaign, it became apparent Rodriguez wasn't part of Zidane's plans. Hence, he sought a move away, later joining Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal with an option to buy. 

James was on course to revive his career at the Allianz Arena. He scored 8 goals and provided 14 assists during his first Bundesliga season. However, the midfielder was underused by Nico Kovac this past campaign. Ultimately, he failed to win over Bayern's hierarchy. 

From the Bavarians refusing to trigger his purchase option to Real Madrid considering him surplus to requirements, Rodriguez' reputation has suffered tremendously. 

His career is treading a different path at present, though. Following the disappointment at Bayern amid injury crisis and limited chances, James is enjoying a brilliant outing so far in the ongoing Copa America. 

Rodriguez has assisted Colombia to a dream start in Brazil. He delivered scintillating performances as Los Cafeteros came out on top in their first two games, before being rested and coming on as a substitute in the last match, a 1-0 win over Paraguay yesterday. The 27-year-old rolled back the years to help topple Messi's Argentina six days ago. He set up Roger Martinez brilliantly during an impressive 2-0 victory.  

Those displays have brought back memories of Rodriguez' exploits in the 2014 World Cup. Yet, a key question remains: can the Copa America revive his club career?  

If he maintains current level while slightly increasing his efficiency, then the answer is yes. Doing so would surely win the hearts of many. Next up for Rodriguez is a quarter-final tie against Chile this Friday. Having an impact in that could earn him a move to a decent-sized club this summer.    

There is the opportunity to work with Ancelotti again. Reports link Rodriguez to Napoli, with some claiming a deal is close to completion. He shone under the Italian in Madrid. A reunion could rejuvenate his career.  

While Rodriguez' fate remains to be seen, it is clear that continued success in the Copa America will have a positive effect on his future.  

Copa America Fixtures
Jidonu Mauyon

Nothing compares with the thrill of watching soccer unless it is writing about the beautiful game. If you are an avid soccer fan, you might have heard about this young and inspiring writer who is intensifying the passion in football lovers across the globe, with his interesting stories and amazing analyses.

Jidonu Mauyon is a Sports Journalist and a football freak from Lagos, Nigeria. He loves to write about everything that happens within the four corners of the soccer pitch as well as relevant stories from outside it. He started his writing career in 2015 and he has moved forward to contribute lots of pieces on the web - becoming a regular author in many of the top Football Platforms - including the likes of Sportainment, Sportskeeda, CubeSoccer and of course, IRAIW.

He covers a lot of topics relating to the English Premier League, the La Liga, Seria A, Bundesliga and the Ligue 1. He is also a great follower of FC Barcelona and a die-hard Lionel Messi fan. You can contact him on Facebook and Twitter.

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