'Madrid stopped me joining Spanish team and I had an offer from Italy' - James says he nearly left Bernabeu last summer
James Rodriguez says Real Madrid prevented him from joining another Spanish club last summer and also refused to move to Italy.
Madrid invested 75 million euros in James in 2014 and lured him from Monaco to Santigo Bernabeu with a five-year contract. The midfielder earned the big win after leading Colombia to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil, where he also finished as the tournament's top scorer.
Unfortunately, the 28-year-old was unable to build on this platform in the Spanish capital and fell into the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane amid ongoing struggles for shape and fitness.
James returned from a mediocre two-year loan period at Bayern Munich last summer and has since been unable to force himself back onto the Madrid lineup. In total, he has only played 14 games in all competitions, and there is little sign that his situation will improve as he approaches the last year of his current contract.
The former Monaco star was heavily linked to a summer transfer, but he claims that the opportunity to leave the club was still there last year, even though his exit route was blocked.
"There was a very good suggestion from a Spanish team that Real Madrid declined. I would prefer not to mention the team's name," James told the Colombian news agency Gol Caracol. "I thought it was a deal, but they didn't let me go to the club I wanted to join. They wanted me to go to another team."
The outcast from Madrid also revealed that he had the option of traveling to either Italy or China, but he didn't like any of the suggestions.
He said: “There was an offer from Italy, but it didn't convince me, I didn't think it was good. My representative, Jorge Mendes, told me that a proposal had come from China, but I replied that I would not go. I wasn't ready to do it because I feel I can still give a lot in Europe. "
James rejected the suggestion that he should not meet Zidane on an equal footing before expressing a desire to find a club where he could find his best shape.
"There has never been a problem [with Zidane]," said the Colombian playmaker. "Every trainer has his taste. We have a normal working relationship. I don't have a central role, but I train and work when it's my turn so that I can do well."
"I also think about the future that I have to work at the highest level everywhere.
"I don't know what will happen in the future, but if they gave me a choice, I would choose a club where I can demonstrate my skills and potential."
James added that he was wrongly criticized for his commitment to Madrid: "A lot is said about me and almost everything is a lie.
"What bothers me the most is that my professionalism is questioned. I don't accept that. I'm very professional, so I got where I am. People who are next to me and have worked with me know what I speak about.
"I take care of myself like no other. I train a lot in my daily life. I always want to improve."
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