James Rodriguez’s name is already appearing on the back of white number-10 jerseys in Madrid, as the Colombian wunderkind playmaker arrived in the Spanish capital Sunday, where he is expected to sign with international footballing giants Real Madrid, according to the UK’s Independent newspaper.
Reports are emerging across the international soccer press that a deal that would see Rodriguez move to the defending Champions League winners from France’s AC Monaco is all but sealed, as team officials work out the final details of a transfer rumored to top $122 million.
According to Spain’s sports diary, AS, the teams reached an agreement Sunday, leaving only the official announcement — scheduled to take place at noon on Tuesday — of what would be the signing of the summer thus far, following James’ spectacular run with the Colombian national team in the World Cup.
James captured the imagination of the world after his break-out performance in Brazil, where he was voted the best player by fans and won the coveted Golden Boot award on the back of six goals in five appearances, including a lazer volley against Uruguay voted the best goal of the tournament.
Following the World Cup, James’ market value increased by 44% from $37.1 million to $53.6 million, making him the world’s sixth most expensive player.
James’ services were also being courted by the likes of England’s Manchester United, but Madrid was always said to be the Colombian playmaker’s preference, and now, it seems, James will have his wish.
With a win last year over crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid, the Spanish side has won 10 European league championships going back to 1956, making it the most successful ever on that stage.
The James signing is part of the typical summer bidding war between Madrid and Barcelona FC, which recently brought in controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez as its own major signing of the transfer window.
Monday morning saw James jerseys go on sale in Madrid, and James can look forward to combining with lightning-rod talents like Cristinao Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on a proven roster that now features fellow recent-signing and new-World Cup champion Toni Kroos, a midfielder who previously played with Germany’s Bayern Munich.