Colombia forward James Rodríguez has joined Real Madrid CF from AS Monaco FC for a fee reported to be in the region of €80m.
James, who moved to Monaco from FC Porto for around €45m only last summer, has signed a six-year contract with the Merengues. The 23-year-old arrives in the Spanish capital less than a week after Toni Kroos – another star of the recent FIFA World Cup – also bolstered the European Cup winners' ranks.
"I'm very happy and want to make history here," said James at his presentation. "This club is used to winning. I always followed Real Madrid and it was my dream to play here; my idol was Zinedine Zidane. It took a lot of effort to realise this dream and when things take more effort to achieve, they taste that much better when you accomplish them."
"I feel physically and mentally ready," he continued. "I know that there is a lot of pressure but I'm ready for that. It's a pleasure to find myself among so many stars; I'm sure I'll learn from everyone. I will never forget this day."
James struck nine times in 34 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco last term, but truly rose to global prominence in Brazil this summer, top-scoring at the World Cup with six goals as his country reached the quarter-finals. His new employers will begin their UEFA Champions League defence in the group stage, starting in mid-September.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) July 22, 2014
The rise of James Rodríguez
2008: Left Colombian club Envigado FC for CA Banfield in Argentina.
2009: Made his Banfield debut in February aged 17 and became a title winner in the Apertura championship.
2010: Scored five Copa Libertadores goals before moving to Porto.
2011: Part of the Porto team that won the treble, including the UEFA Europa League.
2012: Once again won the Portuguese Liga with Porto.
2013: Left Porto after a third league title, joining Monaco along with team-mate João Moutinho for a combined fee reported at €70m.
2014: Helped Monaco to finish second in Ligue 1 before starring for Colombia at the World Cup.
Former Porto coach Vítor Pereira, in January 2012
"James is not a typical winger. He is a player that produces more when playing behind the striker. He is good at receiving the ball between the lines and takes very good decisions."
Former Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri, in January 2014
"James Rodríguez has the keys to open any door. I knew that when I signed him and that's why I was so demanding of him at the start of the season. But today he is perfect. He brings the whole team into the game, he provides assists, he scores, he defends ... I am very satisfied with him."
Former Banfield coach Julio César Falcioni, in July 2014
"At only 17 you could already notice that he was a player with lots of quality and plenty of physical potential; he was capable of competing with the senior players. He was also a person who always respected the coaching staff's tactical demands. He's one of those players you know is different."
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