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James Rodriguez tight-lipped about his future at Bayern Munich

In an interview with Bild, the frustrated Colombian star played his cards close to his chest, saying the bare minimum about his struggles under coach Niko Kovac at Bayern Munich.

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 02: James Rodriguez of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern Muenchen at BayArena on February 2, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany. Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

James Rodriguez gave an exclusive interview to Bild’s Philipp Kessler and Tobias Altschäffl yesterday after his father again publicly described his son’s frustration and wish to to return to Real Madrid. Bild asked all the burning questions on our minds, but James’s guarded answers revealed little more than a grim determination to get through the season, as he trains relentlessly in the hope of starting.

Asked to describe his current situation at Bayern, James’s answer quietly suggests his personal frustration at a lack of regular playing time:

I’m training hard to be able to play. I have to stay calm. I have to be on the ball to be able to help.

“To be on the ball” loosely translates “gut drauf sein,” which can mean either having a positive attitude or being at the ready to leap into action. Of course, we do not know what expression James used in Spanish. Be that as it may, perhaps both senses are intended, since James is talking about both his physical and mental readiness.

James reiterated these immediate physical and mental goals when Bild pointed out that he has started only eight matches:

Those are the coach’s decisions. I have to stay calm and train hard. And when I play, I have to do well.

His relationship with Kovac, unsurprisingly, has no emotional strings attached. “We’re both professionals. It’s a normal relationship between player and coach,” James said.

Also unsurprisingly, James refused to say anything definite about his future. He emphasized that he is focusing only on his present, at Bayern — at least until the end of the season. “There are still four months till then. I’m thinking only about Bayern at the moment.”

A return to Real Madrid is theoretically an option, although James was careful not to say so explicitly. James described his contractual situation rather technically in his response to Bild’s question about his father’s remarks about his desire to return to Madrid:

I belong to Real, am loaned to Bayern. Hence I’m currently thinking only about what concerns Bayern. I’m here and giving everything for the club.

Bayern has to “keep on fighting” as they chase Dortmund in the Bundesliga. “We’re Bayern Munich and have to keep on trying. We have to be ‘on the ball’ (gut drauf) and stick together.” James set Bayern’s chances against Liverpool at 50/50 and twice said Bayern has to be “prepared.”

I think Bayern always has a chance in important matches like these. We’re a great club with magnificent players.

It is a distinct possibility that James may start in both Bayern’s upcoming matches against Liverpool, since his chief rival for playing time, Thomas Müller, will serve a two-match suspension. James will undoubtedly train hard, “be on the ball,” and come prepared.

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