Colombian footballer James Rodriguez has arrived in Sao Paulo, where he will play until June 2025. The former Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Olympiakos player was greeted by a crowd at the airport, where he arrived on a private flight as a free agent, after leaving Olympiakos in April and finishing his contract in June with the club from Piraeus.
A multitude of Sao Paulo fans gathered to welcome the Colombian star. James comes to Brazil more than one hundred days after leaving his last club. However, the Colombian player has kept himself in shape during his long vacation and has enjoyed several offers, finally opting for the Sao Paulo club.
Return to America, 13 years later
James started his professional career at Envigado in 2006. Two years later, he moved to the Argentinean club Atlético Banfield, where he began to attract the interest of European clubs. In 2010, the Cucuta-born player signed with Porto, starting a long journey through the European continent and Asia. The list is long and with ups and downs. Porto, Monaco, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Everton, Al Rayyan, and Olympiakos have been the clubs where James has played since leaving America. Today, the 32-year-old player returns to the American continent.
The 2014 World Cup, turning point
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the great opportunity seized by James. Colombia returned to a World Cup, after 16 years of absence since France ’98. The expectation generated by Pekerman’s team was enormous, both inside and outside Colombia. James Rodriguez emerged as one of the best footballers, with masterful performances, such as the spectacular goal he scored against Uruguay. The Colombian took advantage of the fabulous showcase that a football World Cup represents like few others.
James was crowned top scorer, despite playing as a midfielder, and it was the perfect platform from which to make the big leap that allowed him to sign for Real Madrid. In the Spanish club, James experienced his best time as a footballer. Repeated absences as a starter led to a loan to Bayern Munich. His definitive departure from Real Madrid led him to join Everton in 2020.
In the Sao Paulo team, James will be reunited with the veteran Rafinha, with whom he was already teammates at Bayern Munich. The team led by Dorival Junior is currently eighth in their national competition. In August, they will play the second leg of the Copa do Brasil semifinals against Corinthians. In the first match of the Sao Paulo rivalry, Corinthians won 2-1. The final resolution of the tie will be on the next day, the 17th, with James Rodriguez on the Sao Paulo Tricolor team.