Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez is eager to join Cristiano Ronaldo at Champions League winners Real Madrid, according to the player's father.
The 22-year-old Monaco forward has received much praise for his performances at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as he has inspired Colombia to their first ever quarter-final.
Speculation has been rife as to which club may snap him up, and now his father, Wilson James Rodriguez, has hinted that Real Madrid may be top of the list from the player's point of view, per Peter McVitie on Goal.com:
Since he was very little he was saying he wanted to play professionally in Spain because it is similar to Colombian football, with great technique. They have players such as Ronaldo. For the style of football, he prefers Real Madrid. [James] aspires to achieve great things. Zidane was his idol when he was playing for Real Madrid.
Rodriguez is currently the top-scorer at the World Cup—he has five goals from four Colombia wins—and scored arguably the goal of the tournament for the opener in the last-16 against Uruguay, per the BBC's Phil McNulty:
If he can propel his side to a quarter-final victory over hosts Brazil on Friday, his position as player of the tournament will be in little doubt.
Rodriguez scored nine times and provided 12 assists for Monaco in Ligue 1 last season, per WhoScored.com, but has himself previously expressed a wish to play in Spain in the future.
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona have also been linked with the breakout star, but when pushed to decide between the two Spanish giants, Rodriguez sided with Real, per Cadena Cope via Goal.com:
"I would love to play in Spain," he said. "It would be a dream to play there - it is the best league in the world. I prefer Madrid to Barcelona."
However, if Real are interested in signing Rodriguez, they will reportedly have to stump up a large transfer fee with Monaco valuing him at €90 million (£71 million) per Ligue 1 journalist Jonathan Johnson:
Based on his World Cup performances, Rodriguez would be a fine addition to Real's side as he provides both goals and creativity from a variety of positions across the midfield.
Reports suggest that Angel Di Maria is to be offloaded by the Madrid outfit, per David Kent in the Daily Mail, and Rodriguez would thus fill the Argentinian's place in a midfield that includes Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric.
While Real are also reportedly on the verge of signing Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos, per Marca, Rodriguez would play a different role from the German at Real, likely as an advanced playmaker.
Real will need to be convinced of Rodriguez's quality to pay such a large fee, particularly as they already have a wealth of talent in their attacking unit, but his continued excellence in Brazil could make the decision a very simple one.