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Do Real Madrid need $107 million James Rodriguez? Where will he play?

Jul 22, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Rodriguez AP

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player.

The 23-year-old Colombian attacker completed his $107 million from AS Monaco to Real Madrid on Tuesday and will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu to thousands of adoring fans. Rodriguez has completed his dream move, but do Real really need him?

[RELATED: Rodriguez seals $107 million move ]

Ever since the AS Monaco forward took the 2014 World Cup by storm this summer and won the Golden Boot by scoring six goals in just five games, his name was linked with every top club in Europe. Quotes attributed to him spoke of his “dream to play for Real” and now that dream has become a reality.

However when you look around at the attacking players Real possess, it does seem a little over the top to add Rodriguez to the mix. Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale. Angel di Maria. Karim Benzema. Isco. Jese. Toni Kroos.

Yeah, it will be a tight squeeze to get into Real’s starting lineup this season. Warning: understatement alert.

Di Maria is the only star who looks likely to leave as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been rumored to swoop in for the Argentine, but the others are likely to remain. Rodriguez is said to have been handed the No. 10 jersey for Real which gives us a good indication as to where he will play.

[RELATED: Where does James transfer fee rank all-time?]

With Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo likely to hold the top three spots in a 4-3-3 formation, James could play at the head of a three man central midfield with two from Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sami Khedira behind him. With his penchant for making goals and smashing in long-range efforts like this one vs. Uruguay at the World Cup, this could be the perfect spot for Rodriguez. He hasn’t got the blistering pace of Ronaldo or Bale but he’s wonderfully gifted with the ball at his feet, has an eye for a pass and has a knack of wiggling out of tackles.

Wherever he lines up for Real, it’s likely he will interchange seamlessly with Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo to create what is perhaps the greatest front-four soccer has ever seen. After all, the transfer fees alone for those four players cost Madrid over $438.2 million.

Maybe Madrid didn’t need Rodriguez but now they have him, and the rest of Europe is shuddering at the thought of the “fantastic four” ripping it up in the UEFA Champions League once again next season.

  1. vtravi00 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Anyone else bothered by the fact that a few clubs buy all the top talent, weather they need the player or not. European leagues are become more non competitive every year. It is getting to the point where they should just have a euro super league. A team like Sevilla doesn’t stand a chance against Real or. Barca. It’s not sport when it is so uneven.

    Look at bayen Munich, how can a fan get excited about winning the league when they take the best players from Dortmund, the only team that can compete with them. So now there is no team that can compete with them. How is that fun.

    • danielk1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      They do have a European super league. It is called Champions League, and it is amazing! These super teams need two full squads of top talent to survive a season of European soccer. They can have up to 3 games in a week. When they play a champions league game against Chelsea on Wednesday and play against Barca in El Clasico on Saturday, they need fresh best-in-the-world legs twice in one week. It’s good to have a deep bench in these situations.

      Real Madrid is looking to defend its record 10th European trophy this year. With this team, they are looking good. THere are some other dangerous teams out there though. Def looking forward to the start of the Champs League.

      • theromingnome - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        So twice a year Real has to play a good team in its own league? Tell me again why I should watch La Liga. Okay so Atletico stepped up this year but they’ll just get cleaned out and be gone again.

      • danielk1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        I never said La Liga was a good league. I’m in it for the Champions League. that is where the fun stuff happens. I am not too interested in wondering whether Athletico will keep Barca or Real Madrid from winning the league either.

        It is too bad we have to wait a whole year to see van Gaal play this Real Madrid team. They will almost certainly both be completely different next year.

    • theromingnome - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      The English Premier League is all you need to watch.

  2. mianfr - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    They’ll sell Di Maria and Khedira and cover this whole cost.

    They didn’t desperately need him, but this isn’t the craziest thing in the world. If they had sold Di Maria and Khedira first we’d all be praising this to no end.

    • scoochpooch - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      Yup and possible sale/loan of isco to Liverpool.
      James will be with Modric and Kroos in MF with Alonso’s age keeping him on the bench.

  3. jlewsey15 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Yep top teams are buying up all the talent, but look who won La Liga laast season and went to the CL final?!

    We are also only 2 years removed from Dortmund winning in Germany. Bayern have done this for over 20 years buying up their rivals best players so that is nothing new.

    It is the way it all works, though just because you have a ‘dream team’ does not mean you win, Barca didn’t win anything, Real missed out on La Liga, Man City were run close by Liverpool and Chelsea.

    PSG are ridiculous. It is the way of football though and has been for a while to be honest. I am more worried about the stupid prices and wages.

  4. lyleoross - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    I’m going to have to agree that these things are a disaster. I know that some lower clubs step up, but we all know that each league has between two and five powerhouses that control everything. They are always near the top. If you’re going to argue that Champions league is what matters, then reformat UEFA into league 1, the Champions teams, and then lower leagues for the scrubs. Eliminate Premier, La Liga, Serie A, etc. or make them secondary leagues to Championship where the top three or so clubs from each country compete. While you are going to have fan loyalty, and it’s reasonably staunch, in the end, knowing your team can’t possibly compete, ever, is going to lesson the fan base. It’s the same thing that the big States sports are seeing.

    • mianfr - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      There is literally no fair way to enact this plan without top teams voluntarily deciding to break off and form their own super league.

      Going off last year’s results, there’s no Manchester United, AC Milan, Inter, Marseille, or Lyon, for instance. Teams do improve, you’re just being too short-sighted.

      Even in La Liga, commonly cited as the definitive two-horse race, teams like Valencia, Villareal, Seville, to say nothing of Atletico Madrid since I’m avoiding recency bias, are very historically competitive and more than capable of runs to the top of the league.

      Teams get better, teams get worse. Those with superior management (not money, though it helps) stay good.

      • lyleoross - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Numbers don’t lie, teams improve to a certain point, but the top teams dominate. Who’s gonna return to the top four in the EPL this year, MU or any of the other bottom thirteen (including those who came up)? It’s not an even playing field.

        Staying good does happen, take Everton, and the same thing happens in baseball, but real change with shifts that happen over long periods doesn’t happen unless you pool teams with equal resources. You can do that by pooling the rich clubs across Europe, or with revenue sharing. Revenue sharing works great, take a look at the US pro sports that do it. It also makes a more exciting product.

        You are correct in your comment that I am short sighted, waiting twenty years for your team to get that one shot at the top tier, before all their best players are poached or sold and they fall back the next year is just not enough excitement for me…

        BTW – take a look at the La Liga results for the past 75 years, Barcelona and Real dominate, then Atletico Madrid has a handful with Bilboa and Valencia having a few, Everyone else on the list has one or two wins in a 75 year span. A total of 64 wins by the top three, with 19 by the next six over the history of the league.

  5. jlewsey15 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I totally disagree with the fan base statement. Football is different to the american sports that way, attendances in the premiership in 2008 are nearly identical to last season. Since 2000 attendance has increased across the board by 2 million.

    Man Utd have dominated the premiership since it began yet attendance is higher than it was 15 years ago. People still go to the games and always will, what will kill that off is higher ticket prices.

    The whole buying the best players has gone on for years across the world, some teams are renowned for their youth systems (southampton, Ajax, Dortmund et al) and compete when the new crop come through but don’t have the financial power to compete every year. They do compete though.

    All the South American players come from small teams, go to the larger clubs in S.America then tend to go to Europe and the biggest clubs there, it’s a non stop conveyor belt and always will be.

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