Newly-appointed Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has heaped praise on AC Milan-linked playmaker James Rodriguez, with the Everton departure looming.
Following a topsy-turvy season at Goodison Park, Rodriguez could leave the Premier League after just one year.
The 29-year-old swapped the Santiago Bernabeu for Everton last summer to work his favorite manager but failed to impress during his maiden season in England.
A series of injury setbacks hampered the Colombian’s progress in Liverpool, as he managed just 23 top-flight appearances for the Toffees in 2020/21.
With one year left to run on his contract at the club, Everton are looking to offload their underperforming attacking midfielder in the coming months to make some profit.
Milan and Atletico Madrid have emerged as potential landing spots for Rodriguez, who spent a big part of his career playing for Atletico’s cross-town rivals.
However, it appears that the Rossoneri are in the driving spot to capture his signature after Jorge Mendes approached Paolo Maldini with an idea of taking James to the San Siro.
The Serie A heavyweights are in the market for a top-class playmaker to fill the void left by Hakan Calhanoglu’s departure for bitter rivals Inter Milan.
The Turkish star shouldered the playmaking burden under Stefano Pioli last season, turning into one of the finest players in his position across Europe’s top-five divisions.
With the ex-Bayer Leverkusen man now gone, Maldini must find a suitable replacement to keep Pioli’s roster competitive following Milan’s return to the Champions League.
Rodriguez fits the profile perfectly, especially considering he won’t command a hefty price tag due to his contractual situation at Everton.
Asked to share his opinion on the Colombian’s qualities, Ancelotti waxed lyrical about his former protege.
“A pure talent, a great footballer. He had some physical problems, and his contribution to the cause was therefore reduced,” the Italian coach told Il Giornale.