He took oil from the sea and water from the stones of an irrelevant action in three quarters of the field. He caught a pass, anyone else would have tried to control the ball and bunt to set up the game. And he would have been fine, it was logical, normal.
The crack, however, with a fantastic panoramic vision, had everything scanned: the goal, the goalkeeper Muslera, the two defenders located in front, the three midfielders who approached him to damage the pressure, his own position, the distance and the ball , which came from air and high.
He also pondered the result, the circumstances. The high-class footballer, at that moment, even without intending to do so -barely by instinct-, processes a huge amount of information, has a very wide observation radius and resolves. And in a split second, he decided to skip times: he breastfed, volleyed and angled. It was anthologically plastic and came out as perfect as One Hundred Years of Solitude. A great work.
(Also read: James Rodríguez: they reveal the fight that would have unleashed all the chaos in Olympiacos)
It was a historic goal because of the setting –the World Cup–, the box –Maracana–, the rival –the always difficult Uruguay–, the instance and the fabulous quality of the manoeuvre. An exceptional technical gesture, superior even to that remembered goal by Zidane in 2002 that defined the Champions League for Real Madrid. This one was more resounding, visually more beautiful, with a higher degree of difficulty. Let no one be told nostalgic stories that before there were many goals of this quality. fables. It was a goal of all times, better than those of other times, a football painting. At the bottom, the signature: James Rodríguez. It was June 28, 2014.
“We had been playing a good game until that goal came, right? That wonderful goal. This is football and nothing can be done against it”, said the Uruguayan Édinson Cavani, nobleman and gentleman. How true! A crash like this, with a technical feat of such exuberance, he breaks plans, systems and illusions.
That goal made us all fall in love and ejected him to the top, Real Madrid, who make very little mistakes, made a mistake: they put 75 million euros for him. And from there, fame, fame, fame… money, money, money… Three generations of Rodríguez will have to spend big. And press, social networks, tens of millions of followers, constant rumors of passes, the creation of an impeccable metrosexual image like all those represented by Jorge Mendes (Cristiano Ronaldo is his top model: perfect abs, designer clothes, exclusive cars, mansions , total mediatization). Except that Cristiano is never missing: he has played 1,158 (complete) games, and James has 595, of which he played for a while or a few minutes in more than half. Playing means being available, being careful, having shown the coach.
James did not return to show the brilliance of the World Cup in Brazil
And on the field? Nothing, or very little, sparks, droplets, little things, touches, a good pass that the journalists on the payroll will say was great, that «nobody disputes the enormous talent of James», the occasional precise cross praised to the point of exaggeration, a pre-pre-pre assistance. And injuries, injuries, injuries… And repeated absences. And new destinations, always with higher income and lower compensation at stake.
Bayern did not bite (they are very hard to drop a euro, they study well), Everton and Al-Rayyan felt cheated, now Olympiacos terminates their contract two and a half months before its expiration. Not because of a rudeness, that is fixed if the player gives solutions on the field, they give him a start due to the minimum performance and the very high economic cost. Then a statement will be made with well-chosen words that will define as «common agreement» the common disagreement. And on behalf of the player «I will always be part of this great Olympiacos family.» This thing about being cut off prematurely had never happened to him before. But they say that Evangelos Marinakis, the ultra-millionaire owner of Olympiacos (and Nottingham Forest among many other companies), is less tolerant than the Qatari directors of Al-Rayyan. This time, according to the Greek media, the cause of his abrupt end was due to a mistreatment of the French coach José Anigo.
I will never repeat something like that goal against Uruguay again. Not even 20 percent. However, in July, at the age of 32, Mendes will look for another ten million euro contract for him, if possible at a European club, preferably one that plays in the Champions League and that entrusts him with the number 10. To do this, he will move all his resources, which are vast, they will say that Milan, Porto, Besiktas, among others, are interested, they will launch rumors… It’s simple: «friendly» journalists will mention polls and negotiations that nobody confirms or denies.
And he will achieve something, because the price of the man from Cucuta dropped to 9 million, although it is no longer necessary to pay a transfer for him, he is a free agent, and his name continues to shine. The presentation will be wonderful, the club’s scarf will be made and there will be omens of glorious days and a very lasting relationship, it will be said that the left-footed player will give great satisfaction to the fans.
Like-minded journalists will immediately activate the praise meter. But, when the first game arrives, he will not be among those called up «due to a lack of rhythm» or «because the preseason started late.» And when the fourth or fifth date does not arrive either, because there will be «a little pull in the calf» or «in the soleus», in that rebellious calf. And he will finish with 4 goals and 5 assists. And they will let you out. And there will be another announcement with fancy words. And Mendes will come out valid again. It’s cyclical. It’s neymarized, James. A pity. They chose the easy way. Two gifted elements of the same generation who preferred all the comfortable part of the profession: celebrity, millions and privileges, over performance, which is the product of sacrifice and commitment. They lost their career without having consolidated it with their own achievements. Listing titles in which there was almost no participation is to say hello with someone else’s hat.
All these considerations are related to his game, not his private life, in which the journalist should not measure himself. We never buy the current of James’ puffiness, of indiscipline, that he goes out too much at night, that he is not all the professional that elite football requires. We are not with him to affirm that. Quite the contrary, he has always publicly shown a very polite, even pleasant behavior. This is the same as Valverde’s punch to Baena. That Baena would have told him, that he used it during the game, that his unborn son mentioned to him… The only thing that is recorded is the blow. With James it is the same, what is seen, what counts is his production in the rectangle. And there he disappoints.
José Anigo (Olympiacos) is the seventh coach with whom James has had run-ins or with whom he has no place. Before it were Claudio Ranieri (Monaco), Rafa Benítez (Real Madrid / Everton), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid), Niko Kovac (Bayern Munich), Nicolás Córdova (Al-Rayyan), and Reinaldo Rueda in the national team. They are too many. Zidane became the number one public enemy in Colombia. Now things are better known.
Every year we make this same note. In 2024, by May or June, maybe there will be another. No one has ever achieved so much notoriety or made so much fortune in exchange for so little. Never a goal billed so much.
FOR THE TIME
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