Football News

Ancelotti insists Napoli are still in the mix for James Rodriguez despite Atleti links

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 15:04, 24 July 2019

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of his fondness for James Rodriguez amid negotiations to sign him from Real Madrid.

The pair have previously worked together in Madrid before reuniting at Bayern Munich, though it turned out to be a brief affair.

Rodriguez, who joined Los Blancos following a spectacular 2014 World Cup campaign, sees his days at the Santiago Bernabeu numbered, as there’s seemingly no room for him in manager Zinedine Zidane’s plans.

There was an option for him to become a permanent fixture at Bayern, but the powers that be declined, and with the way things have turned out, his future is reportedly in southern Italy or across the Spanish capital.

Napoli, who are entering a second year under Ancelotti, are keen to bring him to the fold but there’s a question of whether they are financially capable, whilst Atletico Madrid – who have recently done business with arch-rivals Real – could bolster their squad with the Colombian.

A recent report from Marca suggests the South American is Diego Simeone’s preferred playmaker choice ahead of Christian Eriksen, however, Ancelotti has countered that by revealing talks are still ongoing for a player he really thinks the world of, meaning Atleti may have no choice but to move for the Spurs midfielder.

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“I’m not aware of a deal with Atletico,” he told TV Luna.

“We’re still talking for James, a player that I really like. I’m very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.

“He doesn’t need to re-announce himself, he’s a great player. But he’s not the only player we’re openly negotiating for. We’re assessing many players.”

Could we see James and Ancelotti team up again? Five key things to know…

  • James is expected to leave Real Madrid this summer.
  • Since joining from Monaco in 2014 he’s made 111 appearances.
  • James’ first manager at Real was Carlo Ancelotti and they would later reunite at Bayern Munich.
  • To date he’s played 51 times under the Italian tactician.
  • Napoli are reportedly battling Atletico Madrid for his signature.