The ongoing conflict between former Everton midfielder James Rodriguez and ex-Blues manager Rafael Benitez has been reignited following the conclusion of Rodriguez’s tenure on Merseyside, writes the LiverpoolEcho.
In 2021, the Colombian international made a move to Qatari club Al Rayyan for an undisclosed fee, concluding his one-year stint with the Blues. During his time at Goodison Park, Rodriguez’s appearances were largely limited due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While playing under Carlo Ancelotti, he was part of the Everton team that secured their first victory at Anfield since 1999. However, with the arrival of Benitez, Rodriguez’s involvement with Everton gradually diminished.
He told Noticias RCN (via Sport Witness): “When he arrived at Everton on the first day, he told me, ‘Go away. You are 30 years old and I want young people, who have energy’”
“I had had a spectacular year with Everton, so I wasn’t going to start fighting with him.”
It isn’t the first time that the 31-year-old has spoken ill of the former Everton manager. In January, he revealed: “I was at Everton for a year but I would have liked it to be longer. It went well, very well, I’m leaving due to a coach, because if not, I would stay.
“The coach (Benitez) told me on the first day of pre-season, ‘you are old, you are already 30 years old, I prefer to have young people, with energy. So, find yourself a club’. I told a leader, after three months he will be out, I have already worked with him.
“I told him after three months look for me and after three months he (Benítez) was already out. Then came Lampard, he has won some games and has managed to save the club.”