James Rodriguez the man for Real Madrid to build around

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When James Rodriguez finished as top goalscorer in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, every major European club were suddenly in the hunt for talented Columbian's signature.

Monaco eventually agreed a fee of £63 million for Rodriguez to join Real Madrid, typical of the big spending that football fans have become accustomed to with the Galacticos under Florentino Perez, responsible for sanctioning the mega-money moves for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Kaka.

The Columbia international had arguably the highest stock in world football at that point and joined arguably the world’s biggest club, yet it was widely anticipated that it would take time to adjust to his new side; in a new country; and surrounded by new team-mates.


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No one, though, could have predicted the debut season that the 24-year-old would have - Rodriguez scored 17 goals in all competitions. 

And yet in Real's first La Liga game under Rafael Benitez this season, Rodriguez was made to spectate from the bench as his team-mates drew 0-0 with Sporting Gijon - a decision that was heavily criticised by Spanish press.

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The Colombian was returned to the starting line-up against Real Betis, in Real's second game of the season, and immediately staked a claim to become almost irreplaceable under Benitez.

The ex-Porto man started on the right-wing but played an integral part in each of the first four goals, with Real running out 5-0 winners. He started with an inch perfect cross for Gareth Bale to head home in the opening three minutes to kick start his night.

The number 10 then scored a truly fantastic free-kick, nestling the ball into the far corner with unerring accuracy when everyone else fully expected him to target the near post.

And while some players would be happy to score one world-class goal in a match, Rodriguez went one better by scoring a remarkable overhead kick in the second half to finish his game and round off what was a near-perfect return for the Columbian.

It's been widely reported that Benitez intends to keep playing Welshman Bale in the number 10 position, but based on this emphatic performance the Spaniard might want to reconsider his options given Rodriguez's undoubted ability to dictate play and score goals, with all those around him flourishing from his vision, movement and knack of picking out his team-mates at the right time, every time.

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