Atletico Madrid President Hints Club No Longer Pursuing James Rodriguez Transfer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2019

Bayern Munich's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match Nuremberg v FC Bayern Munich on April 28, 2019 in Nuremberg, southern Germany. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) / RESTRICTIONS: DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO        (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo suggested the club are no longer in the hunt to sign midfielder James Rodriguez from rivals Real Madrid.

Rodriguez has been linked with moves to Atletico and Italian powerhouse Napoli, but Cerezo appeared on Radio Kiss Kiss (h/t Calciomercato.com) and hinted his club's business had concluded.

"James?" he said. "Our team is strong this way, and we believe we are already as competitive as we are with all competitions. The rose is closed. In football you never know what will happen tomorrow. Today I can only say that we are strong this way and that the rose is already made."

Los Rojiblancos signed Benfica prodigy Joao Felix as a replacement for Antoine Griezmann this summer, while Alvaro Morata joined the club on permanent terms from Chelsea following his loan. The Madrid giants also signed forward Ivan Saponjic, 22, from Benfica.

Rodriguez recently returned to Real training for the first time in more than two years, having spent the past two campaigns on loan at Bayern Munich, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:

TeleMadrid (h/t Football Espana) reported Atletico increased their offer for Rodriguez to €50 million (£45.8 million) and that Napoli were hopeful of securing a loan.

Real are also less willing to part ways with wide option Rodriguez since Marco Asensio suffered an injury against Arsenal in pre-season that could prematurely end his 2019-20 campaign:

Manager Zinedine Zidane recently said he didn't know if the Colombia international would be part of his squad for the upcoming season, per Marca (h/t Football Espana).

Rodriguez has two years remaining on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, giving Real limited opportunities to recoup as much of the €70 million they invested in his signature five years ago as they can.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed moments of class in Real colours and was part of the squad that clinched back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles in 2016-17.

Goal broke down the South American's record in Madrid, which showed Rodriguez has had a direct involvement in 0.68 goals per game when in Real colours:

Zidane could need all the help he can get after Real have recorded their worst run of pre-season results since 1980, per Carlos Forjanes of AS.

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