James Rodriguez’s Representatives Dismiss Talk Over Potential Return to Real Madrid

?James Rodriguez will not end his loan stint with ?Bayern Munich a year early to rejoin ?Real Madrid, according to his agency, Gestifute. 

The Colombia international left the Bernabeu for a two-year loan spell with the Bavarian giants last summer after falling out of favour with previous manager Zinedine Zidane. 

However, with the Frenchman no longer at the helm speculation has run rife over his return to the club a year earlier than expected following the appointment of Julen Lopetegui. 

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?Earlier reports had suggested the 27-year-old was looking to make a return to Real next season with a clean slate, but the player’s representatives Gestifute have told ?ESPN that a change in plans is not possible as neither club can break the agreement they struck last year. 

Rodriguez will earn Real Madrid €5m in loan fees for each of his two seasons away from the club, although Bayern possess the option to make the deal a permanent one for €35.2m next summer. 

Real Madrid v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg

The 27-year-old made 39 appearances for Bayern last term, notching eight goals and providing 14 assists as the German side secured their sixth successive league title in a campaign which also saw his current team knocked out by Real in the Champions League semi-finals on a 4-3 aggregate. 

Rodriguez initially joined Real Madrid from Monaco following the 2014 World Cup in a deal worth €80m, where he went on to score 36 goals and set up another 39 across 111 appearances.

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The Colombia international secured a La Liga title, Champions League crown and two Club World Cup’s with the Spanish giants prior to departing for his loan move. 

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France 4-2 Croatia: Player Ratings as Les Bleus Blow Croatia Away to Win Their Second World Cup

France have been crowned the 2018 World Cup champions after they defeated a plucky Croatia side 4-2 on Sunday evening.

It was a thrilling match full of talking points and was a fitting end to an outstanding tournament. France slowly grew into the match and goals from Griezmann, Mbappe, Pogba and a Mandzukic own goal decided the final. 

Perisic and Mandzukic got the goals for Croatia, but their incredible World Cup came to an end right at the final hurdle.

Here’s a look at how the players fared after a spectacular final.

1. France: Goalkeeper and Defenders

Hugo Lloris 4/10 – Pulled off a stunning save early in the second half but that was undone by a dreadful mistake to allow Croatia back into the match.

Benjamin Pavard 6/10 – Had a nervy start to the match but gradually improved as the game progressed.

 
Raphael Varane 8/10 – Rock solid at the back for Les Bleus and made one or superb tackles.  

Samuel Umtiti 7/10 – Put in some heroic tackles for his side and put his body on the line on a number of occasions.

Lucas Hernandez 7/10 – Put in a regimented performance on the left flank and didn’t let Rebic get the better of him on many occasions. Got forward brilliantly for France’s fourth goal to lay the ball off for Mbappe’s goal.

2. France: Midfielders

N’Golo Kante 5/10 – Uncharacteristically disappointing performance from the Chelsea man, looked off the pace and was taken off early in the second half. 

Paul Pogba 8/10 – Scored a superb goal for France’s third goal. Started the attack with a beautifully weighted pass and finished it with a lovely stroked finish from outside the box. 

Blaise Matuidi 7/10 – Steady performance as usual from the Juventus man and barely put a foot wrong.

3. France: Forwards

Kylian Mbappe 9/10- Had a very quiet first half by his standards but soon exploded into life in the second half and tore the Croatian defence apart with his pace on a number of occasions. Scored a lovely goal for France’s fourth.

Antoine Griezmann 8/10 – Kept his cool to stroke home a penalty to put France back in he lead.

Olivier Giroud 6/10 – If ever a single performance summed up an individual’s World Cup, it was this one. Worked tirelessly but never looked a threat in front of goal. 

4. France: Substitutes

Steven N’zonzi 8/10 – Stepped into the game early in the second half and looked brilliant. Calm and composed in the centre of the park. 

Corentin Tolisso 6/10 – Came into the side and looked comfortbale on the ball and in defence.

Nabil Fekir 6/10 – Kept up France’s attacking threat despite being pinned back during the final exchanges.

5. Croatia: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Danijel Subasic 5/10 – Couldn’t keep up his outstanding performances and looked a little off the pace for France’s third and fourth goals.

Sime Vrsaljko 6/10 – Did a decent job at right back and very few chances materialised from his flank.

Dejan Lovren 6/10 – Had a solid start and none of the goals can really be attributed to the Liverpool man. 

Domagoj Vida 6/10 – Picked up an unlikely assist by laying the ball off for Perisic. Looked as rugged as ever but there were moments of unease well dealing with the pace of Mbappe.

Ivan Strinic 6/10 – It was looking like Strinic was on course to putting in one of the best defensive performances of the tournament but he was eventually undone by Mbappe’s pace in the second half.

6. Croatia: Midfielders

Ante Rebic 6/10 – Worked very hard as usual but his influence on the game was limited due to Hernandez’ performance at right back.

Ivan Rakitic 7/10 – Controlled the midifeld in the first half and demonstrated his range of passing but couldn’t quite keep up that level of performance in the second half as France took control of the match. 

Luka Modric 6/10 – Wasn’t quite his night. Couldn’t stamp his authority on the game like he did in previous matches but recycled possession well.

Marcelo Brozovic 6/10 – Did a reasonable job screening his defence but he wasn’t as effective as he was against England.

Ivan Perisic 7/10 – Scored a magnificent goal to level the tie mid way through the first half but gave away a penalty for hand ball minutes later.

7. Croatia: Forward

Mario Mandzukic 7/10 – Has the unfortunate label as the first player to ever score an own goal in a World Cup final. Despite this, he played very well up top for Croatia and was as combative as ever. Redeemed himself by capitalising on a Hugo Lloris mistake to pull one back for Croatia.

8. Croatia: Substitutes

Andrej Kramaric 5/10 – Had little to no impact after coming on but in reality the game seemed to be beyond Croatia at that point.

Marko Pjaca 6/10 – Made a few decent runs into the French box in search of a way back into the match but couldn’t latch on to any balls put towards him.

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PSG Boss Tuchel Steps Up Chase for New Central Defenders With Bayern & Milan Stars Leading Shortlist

?Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel is believed to be hellbent on signing a top quality central defender this summer, and has narrowed his shortlist down to ?Milan ace Leonardo Bonucci and ?Bayern Munich star Jérôme Boateng.

According to Paris United, Tuchel is eager to keep Thiago Silva and Marquinhos at the club, but will look to bring in another two central defenders in order to help his side challenge on all fronts next season. PSG’s ambition is still to win the Champions League, and it is thought that Tuchel has insisted upon a talent rich squad in order to make this aim more realistic.

Germany Training & Press Conference

Boateng is widely believed to be ready for a new challenge, having won six ?Bundesliga titles on the trot with the Bavarian giants. The German international, now 29, has the kind of trophy-winning experience that could prove invaluable to Tuchel’s side, and his powerful physique would be consistent with Marquinhos and Silva’s domineering style of defensive play.

Bonucci joined Milan from ?Juventus last summer, and was given the captain’s armband. However, I Rossoneri endured a highly underwhelming season following their major investment in the transfer market, and have been banned from European football for two years after breaching FFP rules. Bonucci could well look for an exit, with his San Siro spell turned sour.

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The pressure will be on Tuchel to deliver the goods in his first season at the Parc des Princes, with the PSG board desperate to see their heavy investments draw dividends. While the side have the quality to breeze past opponents in Ligue 1, Champions League success continues to elude them.

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Meanwhile, ???Chelsea could rival PSG in their pursuit for Bonucci, after reports claimed that new Blues manager Maurizio Sarri is keen to bring the Italian icon to Stamford Bridge this summer. The former ?Napoli boss has already brought in his former star midfielder Jorginho for £58m, and could look to go on a spending spree should the club provide him with the necessary funds.

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Bayern Munich Loanee Could Return to Real Madrid After Attracting Attention of New Manager

??Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez could be given another chance to break back into the fold at the Spanish club as new manager Julen Lopetegui believes the Colombian is capable of filling the creative void left by ?Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to Spanish publication ?Marca, the door remains open for Rodriguez to play for Madrid following the departure of manager Zinedine Zidane this summer. 

Granada CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Rodriguez would apparently be open to playing for Madrid again, having previously been prevented from doing so due to his poor relationship with the Frenchman.

However, the main stumbling block is the fact that he is currently halfway through a two-year loan deal at German champions ?Bayern Munich, with the Bavarian side holding the upper hand in negotiations.

Bayern Muenchen v Eintracht Frankfurt - DFB Cup Final

However, ?Marca have also suggested that Bayern are not entirely opposed to the idea of allowing Rodriguez to return to the Spanish capital a year early and have not shut the door entirely on negotiations.

While the Colombian attacker enjoyed a fine season in the ?Bundesliga and Bayern will not be eager to lose him in a hurry, the outcome of the deal could come down to Rodriguez’s own happiness and where he sees himself playing next season.

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The terms of Rodriguez’s loan deal also include an option to buy at the end of the 2018/19 season – however, this outcome seems unlikely with Rodriguez himself currently keen on a return to Madrid.

With Lopetegui looking to bring Rodriguez back to Madrid as he prepares to take charge ahead of the new season, the Spanish manager has encouraged the player to force his way out of the loan deal with Bayern by any means necessary.

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James Rodriguez’s Father Expects Bayern Munich Stay Despite ‘Flattering’ Real Madrid Interest

?James Rodriguez’s father has insisted that the Colombia star will still be at ?Bayern Munich next season, despite ?Real Madrid’s interest in cancelling his loan deal and bringing him back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rodriguez is halfway through a loan deal from the European champions to the Bundesliga winners, at the end of which he is expected to sign permanently with the Bavarian outfit.

However, the Colombian was originally allowed to leave Madrid due to what Zinedine Zidane perceived as a lack of effort. With Zidane gone and replaced by Julen Lopetegui, the door could be open for Rodriguez to return.

The 27-year-old is ?reportedly keen on returning to Spain, but his father insists that staying at the Allianz Arena is the preferred option.

“At Bayern they have treated him very well, had an excellent season. I would believe, unless there is a decision at the last minute, he will fulfil his contract,” Juan Carlos Restrepo told ?El Larguero.

However, he also hinted that his son would consider a return to Madrid if he felt valued by the club again.

Deportivo de La Coruna v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

“He still carries Real Madrid in his heart. I imagine that he would feel very flattered if Real Madrid considered him for his squad,” he said.

Upon the expiration of Rodriguez’s loan deal in Germany next summer, Bayern possess a purchase option. If Madrid want to keep him, they will have to negotiate a deal to do so.

Rodriguez became a popular figure at Bayern last season as he scored seven goals and provided 11 assists on the way to a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title for the club.

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