Not for the first time, Jupp Heynckes offered plenty of praise for James Rodriguez during the press conference before Bayern’s game against Paderborn. The Colombian international scored his fourth goal of the campaign in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Mainz at the weekend with a sensational bit of skill to control a cross from Corentin Tolisso:
Heynckes didn’t hold back in highlighting his admiration of the midfielder when he was asked about how appreciative he was to have him, despite the fact that he was recruited by former manager Carlo Ancelotti (via ESPN):
James wasn’t happy in Madrid [and] he wasn’t getting the playing time that such a player deserves. After a few problems at the start at FC Bayern, he has become a smash hit.
Heynckes continued, recognizing how comfortable James now looks in the squad, adjusting to life in the Bundesliga:
The way he is playing and how he has integrated -- he’s laughing, relaxed and has an aura about him that gives the impression that he is settled and happy to be in Munich. It’s not so easy when you arrive in a different country, a different mentality, a different football and a different language. He is doing very well, but he can do even better.
James is just one of a handful of players that have been reinvigorated since Heynckes took charge, but his improvements have been nothing short of impressive. With how productive he’s been in the attacking third, it should come as no surprise that James has now been involved in a goal every 106 minutes of play this season.
If James continues on performing at the same rate he has been, Bayern will likely exercise their option to buy him once his two-year loan spell from Real Madrid expires in 2019. He’s already revealed that he would like to stay with the club beyond then, regardless of who the next manager is after Heynckes.