Colombia might be through to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, but James Rodriguez is already looking ahead to his club future. The AS Monaco midfielder admitted after Los Cafeteros' 2-0 win over Uruguay that he'd prefer a move to Real Madrid instead of Barcelona, per Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague:
James Rodriguez: "I prefer Real Madrid to Barcelona". He did not waste much time positioning himself— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 28, 2014
Rodriguez added that he would love to play in La Liga because he believes it to be the pinnacle of club football.
"I would love to play in Spain," he said, per Goal's Miles Chambers. "It would be a dream to play there - it is the best league in the world."
Few stars have shone brighter than the 22-year-old. With his brace against Uruguay, Rodriguez boosted his World Cup total to five, which puts him in top position for the Golden Boot.
Even LeBron James took notice after the Colombian midfielder's bravura performance on Saturday evening:
The World Cup has always been a chance for emerging talents to put themselves in the shop window. Whatever doubts surrounded Rodriguez after his move to Monaco have been thoroughly erased. Colombia needed him to step up after the injury to Radamel Falcao, and that's exactly what he's done.
Where will James Rodriguez be playing next season?
You can understand why he'd want to parlay this momentum into a big-money move to an elite European club. Although Monaco can offer European football, his time in Ligue 1 was always likely to be a stopgap until he headed for greener pastures.
Although Real Madrid already have Isco penciled in as the No. 10, Florentino Perez loves making major splashes in the transfer market, especially after the World Cup. Just imagine an attack with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on the wings and Rodriguez through the center.
It would take a lot of money to pry Rodriguez away from Monaco after only one season, but it could be done. Madrid have the financial power and political clout to make it happen.
This will be one of the more interesting transfer stories to follow this summer.