Sun. Oct 24th, 2021


The playmaker has gone to Qatar after becoming an expensive spare part at a club both right and wrong to sign him

James Rodríguez has gone to Qatar in search of work, although unlike many others who have made the trip before him he can at least keep his passport and will be allowed to leave whenever he wants. The bewitching Colombian playmaker has signed a contract with Al-Rayyan, bringing down the curtain on his Everton career, and – you suspect – much else besides.

The first thing to be said is that this is probably for the best all round. Ever since the sudden departure of Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid Rodríguez had felt like an expensive spare part in a team increasingly based on hard running and well-organised defence. The new manager, Rafael Benítez, had no use for him. Rodríguez is not only 30 and at about £220,000 a week the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but highly injury-prone and last season ran the least of all Everton’s attacking players. There is a sense of inevitability here.

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