The winner of the World Cup’s Golden Boot got a rapturous reception from a 45,000-strong crowd, around a third of whom were wearing Colombia shirts, when he was introduced at the Bernabéu on Tuesday night.
Those Colombia shirts will soon become Real Madrid shirts and Marca is reporting that the Real Madrid shop sold 900 James Rodriguez No. 10 shirts in one hour after his presentation.
The challenge now for Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is where does Rodriguez, and their other summer signing Toni Kroos, fit into a line-up that includes Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo and Di Maria?
Last season Ancelotti seemed to move between a 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formation, with Ronaldo playing somewhere between a left-winger and a forward, while Angel Di Maria did plenty of running to provide some defensive balance.
As the World Cup showed, James (what the Spanish media have started calling him) is happiest as a No. 10 which doesn’t really fit into a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation meaning that if Ancelotti wants to play James in his preferred position a 4-2-3-1, with Ronaldo and Bale on the flanks, is probably the best solution but there is no place for Di Maria in that line-up.
While playing James, Bale and Ronaldo in a line of three, presumably behind Karim Benzema, gives Real the best attacking quartet in the game, the bonus for Ancelotti is the fact that both Bale and James are extremely hardworking and more than happy to help Kroos and Luka Modric/Xabi Alonso/ Sami Khedira defensively.
It looks a little unbalanced to me, but there is not doubt that Real Madrid are a better side now then they were last season. The arrival of Kroos and James will mean the departure of Isco and either Di Maria or Khedira this summer. But is there any fan in the world who would not take Kroos and James over Isco and Di Maria/Khedira?