Columbian footballer James Rodriguez voiced his desire to leave Qatar’s Al-Rayyan for Valencia, stating if the opportunity calls, he would be there for the Spanish team.
“If Valencia calls me, I will even walk from Qatar. I would take a pay cut. If they need someone to assist Edinson Cavani, I’ll be there. They are a great club with great fans,” the attacking midfielder said in an interview with the Spanish show El chiringuito de Jugones.
Rodriguez is the biggest star to have played on Qatar’s pitches. The Colombian joined Al Rayyan in 2021, when he left the Premier League’s Everton.
However, with Al-Rayyan, the 31-year-old has struggled to return to his prime performance as multiple injuries set the superstar back.
Rodriguez was a Colombian celebrity winning the Portuguese Golden Ball award in 2012, a recognition given to the best player in the Primera Liga. Rodriguez became the second Colombian to win the jewel after Radamel Falcao and the youngest player to carry the glory.
An estimated price of 8- 10 million euros is what bagged Rodriguez to make a move to Al Rayyan, making him one of the most expensive players to play in Qatar.
The midfielder capped only 15 games with five goals and seven assists with Al-Rayyan.
Rodriguez’s statement with the Spanish show isn’t his first plea to leave the Middle East. Far from the international spotlight, Rodriguez has been reportedly dissatisfied with the team, hinting at wanting to play in Europe again or joining the MLS.
When asked if he would consider another team earlier this year, Rodriguez dropped a decisive answer.
“I don’t know; you never know what will happen, although I would like to go somewhere else,” Rodriguez said on Twitch, as quoted by Diario Olé in Spanish.
“Physically, I’m perfect; I’m healthy. They ask me if I would return to Europe, why not? I have the conditions for that; I’m getting into a rhythm. A good option would be the United States,” he added.
It’s unclear if there are official talks with international teams outside the Gulf, however, the footballer could get attention as he called out Valencia exclusively.
Rodriguez is under contract until 2024 with Al-Rayyan.
Fall from grace for Colombia
Regarding Qatar’s upcoming World Cup, Rodriguez and Columbian fans were left heartbroken as the team failed to qualify for the winter tournament.
Colombia beat Venezuela 1-0 at the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers but fell short in the CONMEBOL standings as Peru’s win over Paraguay edged one point above Rodriguez’s squad.
Ranked 17th in the FIFA World Ranking, Colombia reached the quarter-finals in 2014 and the last 16 in Russia’s 2018 tournament.