‘Benched by Benitez, now free agent’ – Everton let a player leave at the perfect time

Everton under Fahrad Moshiri has gained a notorious reputation as one of the country’s worst-run clubs, reports the FFC.

The club’s managerial changes and inexplicably poor transfers have left them in significant debt and lacking a strong team backbone on the field. However, one transfer that was initially hailed as a masterstroke was the acquisition of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid in the summer of 2020. The playmaker started his English career in impressive form, but the success was short-lived, and the transfer was yet another failure for Everton.

James Rodriguez gained worldwide fame and stardom thanks to his outstanding 2014 World Cup campaign, where he registered eight goal contributions in five matches and received the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer. His impressive performance earned him a £63m transfer to Real Madrid, where he was expected to continue his rise as one of the world’s most elite players.

During his time in Spain, injury and inconsistency plagued him, resulting in only 14 appearances in his final season at Los Blancos, ultimately leading to him being deemed surplus to requirements. Despite this, the then 29-year-old was still considered a promising talent, hindered by the immense pressure of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful. Everton’s acquisition of him caused a stir in the blue areas of Merseyside, offering an opportunity for him to revitalize his declining career. Rodriguez made a strong start to his debut season in England, contributing to six goals in his first six games, earning him praise from teammate Dominic Calvert-Lewin who stated, “He’s a top, top player. He’s a different level, he dictates games.”

However, Rodriguez’s frustration and lack of motivation caused him to miss 15 of Everton’s Premier League matches, resulting in a lackluster performance by the end of the season. After the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, new manager Rafa Benitez failed to establish a rapport with Rodriguez, leading him to depart for Qatar. A stint with Olympiacos followed, but the former Monaco prodigy had his contract terminated, leaving one of the world’s most respected teams at risk of fading into obscurity. Despite his talent, Everton may have released him at the opportune moment.