In a somewhat scandalous new report by Bild (behind a paywall, because of course it is), it appears that James Rodriguez arrived late to Bayern Munich’s final training session ahead of the game against Stuttgart on Sunday. This doesn’t bode well for the Colombian’s chances of starting the game.
According to Bild, the player arrived at 2:17 pm, 17 minutes later than players are supposed to report for duty. While team training begins at 3:00 pm, the players are instructed to show up one hour beforehand. This is the first time (as far as we know) that James has ever been late to training in his time at the club, and the reason is currently unknown.
Looking at this the right way
Let’s not overreact and crucify the player just yet. For all we know James may have had a legitimate reason for arriving late to training. He was reportedly granted a day off for personal reasons in the middle of the week, perhaps more “personal reasons” had something to do with this.
In addition, let’s question the source of the report. Bild have been publishing nothing but deceitful and harmful stories about Bayern Munich and its players this year, and James Rodriguez has been one of their main targets. We have no idea if this has happened before, or if other players have been guilty of the same thing.
Let’s not fall prey to selective reporting by a newspaper that has a known grudge against the club.
On the other hand ...
Controversy surrounding James Rodriguez isn’t anything new this year. The Colombian star has been frustrated with his lack of playing time under Niko Kovac, and if reports are to be believed, this isn’t the first sign of friction between him and the club. Just as a recap, here are the stories we have covered on this site:
- After a game against Bayer Leverkusen where he scored a goal, James Rodriguez was reportedly upset with Niko Kovac over his team selection. James went on to start against Benfica in the Champions League in midweek.
- In October, after the club’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Ajax, James was seen leaving the locker room within 10 minutes of the final whistle. In that game, the Colombian had been left on the bench in favor of Javi Martinez even though he was expected to start, and he didn’t see the pitch until the 62nd minute when he was subbed on for Arjen Robben.
- After the same game, it was reported that James, in a bout of frustration, had shouted at the coach, saying “We are not in Frankfurt!”
- In November, James allegedly refused a handshake with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. It was also reported by TZ that the player had ignored Niko Kovac’s instructions that all players should participate in the warmup before the game.
- Again, according to Bild, on the 8th of November 2018, the Colombian came late to a team meeting and was remarkably casual on the training ground.
None of these incidents paint the Colombian in a good light, especially with his refusal to commit his future to the club full-time. Is James really considering a move to Real Madrid? His father says that he is comfortable in Munich, but this doesn’t seem like a man who is comfortable with his current situation.
As for Stuttgart — Niko Kovac doesn’t take kindly to players coming in late. If James’ chances of starting the game were low to begin with, they just became infinitely smaller.
According to Christian Falk, this is not the first time that James has been late to training.
Sein Vergehen kommt bei ihm nicht zum ersten Mal vor...— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) January 26, 2019