James Rodriguez leaves third club in as many years in latest career twist

James Rodriguez finds himself without a club, as Olympiacos have released the former Real Madrid star from his contract.

He leaves the Greek giants after just 23 appearances for the club, having only joined Olympiacos at the start of the 2022/23 season. Previously, the 2014 World Cup star had played for Al-Rayyan in Qatar following a move from Everton in 2021.

The Colombian is thus looking for his fourth different team in the past three years, during what has been a turbulent period in a varied career.

 Across his 17 Greek Super League appearances, James had produced a respectable five goals and five assists. Unfortunately, though, 2023 had seen the Colombian deal with injury issues – much like he has in the past.

James Rodriguez is now a free agent as a result of Olympiacos’ termination of his contract. Per AS, Turkish giants Besiktas and Galatasaray have been in contact with the player’s representatives to try and sign him.

Although he has shown flashes of his undeniable class in recent years, Rodriguez is a different player from the one that burst on the scene in Brazil 2014.

James Rodriguez: the start of his European career

Rodriguez’s first European club was FC Porto. Here, he was part of a squad that won three Liga Portugal titles, plus the 2010/11 Europa League. After two great seasons in 2011/12 and 2012/13, Monaco paid £38m for the Colombian to move to France.

He only played one season in the principality, but Rodriguez made it a strong one. The attacking midfielder finished with 10 goals and 14 assists from 38 appearances for Monaco, earning him a spot in his country’s World Cup squad.

James Rodriguez made himself a name to remember during the 2014 tournament.

2014 World Cup and Real Madrid move

In Brazil, Rodriguez led Colombia on an unlikely run to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He dazzled fans with his slick dribbling, skill, and some stunning goals.

James actually won the golden boot of the 2014 World Cup, scoring six times. His solo effort against Japan was memorable, and a sublime volley in the round of 16 against Uruguay won “goal of the tournament”.

Additionally, Rodriguez’s stellar performances garnered the attention of Real Madrid. The then-European champions signed the emerging star for £63 million from Monaco just after the World Cup. He would serve as a playmaker behind the Bale-Benzema-Ronaldo front three at the Bernabeu.

His first campaign in Spain went well; Rodriguez got 13 goals and 13 assists in La Liga, although Real could not retain the Champions League.

Unfortunately, in the years that followed, injuries hampered the Colombian star’s production. The fitness woes thus had a knock-on effect on his place in the team, so much so that in 2017 Real allowed James to go on loan to Bayern Munich.

Bayern stint and club-hopping

As he did in Madrid, Rodriguez hit the ground running in Bavaria. From just 23 Bundesliga appearances in 2017/18, he produced seven goals and 11 assists. Not too bad at all, really.

However, James Rodriguez also carried his injury woes to Germany. He missed multiple games in his first season, then was absent for a double-digit number of matches in 2018/19.

So, the Colombian returned to the Bernabeu after a two-year loan spell., Rodriguez found minutes hard to come by in 2019/20 as he made just fourteen appearances all season.

He then joined Everton in 2020, linking up with former Real boss Ancelotti. This move looked inspired after the first few games with the Toffees top of the Premier League. But, as Everton’s season deteriorated, so did James’ fitness, as a spate of calf issues kept him out for many matches.

The Merseyside club cut their losses in 2021, letting Rodriguez go to Qatar after just one campaign together. One year with Al-Rayyan, and six months with Olympiacos, now sees James without a club.

Like many tremendously talented players, James Rodriguez has seen a potentially incredible career hampered by injury. A team will definitely give him another chance – yet you cannot help but wonder what could have been.

Featured image credit: Getty