James Rodriguez has revealed that he was one step away from joining Atletico Madrid a few years ago only for the deal to collapse when Real Madrid, then his employers, refused to allow him to leave and join their cross-city rivals.
“It was almost done,” the Colombian said in comments carried by Fabrizio Romano. “I wanted my family next to me, the deal was set to be completed. One step away. But then everything collapsed because Real Madrid didn’t want me to leave.”
James eventually left Madrid to join Carlo Ancelotti at Everton in the summer of 2020. He spent a season under the Italian at Goodison Park where he provided some absolutely thrilling moments but also missed a lot of football through injuries.
He left when Ancelotti returned to the Santiago Bernabeu, however, after not seeing eye-to-eye with Rafael Benitez. He’s currently playing his football in Qatar with Al-Rayyan.
James has earned 82 caps for the Colombian national team and scored 23 goals. He’ll hope to be included in their squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should Colombia make it there. With Madrid, he provided 37 goals and 42 assists in 125 appearances.
James Rodriguez confirms he was “one step away” from joining Atletico Madrid few years ago: “Yes, it was almost done. I wanted my family next to me, the deal was set to be completed”. 🇨🇴 #Atleti
“Everything collapsed because Real Madrid didn’t allow me to leave”, he added. pic.twitter.com/Un7ZlMxDpj
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 2, 2022