James hopes World Cup form continues at Madrid
MADRID (AP) — James Rodriguez hopes the scoring streak that earned him the Golden Boot award at the World Cup continues after his move to European champion Real Madrid.
Madrid paid Monaco a reported $108 million for the Colombia forward after he scored a tournament-leading six goals at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
He was presented with the Golden Boot trophy on Friday.
“I was hoping to win it because I have always dreamed of winning something like this,” James told The Associated Press. “This is also a source of happiness to my country Colombia. Because they gave me lot of strength so I could win the award.”
James’ first goal against Uruguay in the round of 16, when he chested the ball down and then volleyed it in, was voted the best of the competition.
“It was something so special that will always stay with me,” Rodriguez said about that spectacular strike. He also scored the second in a 2-0 win.
“Those are goals that stay in the memory. I think I left a mark with that goal. It made us pass to the quarterfinals and that was also historic,” he said.
Now the 23-year-old must find a way into a star-studded attack already featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
“I have big hopes, but first I have to train well and earn my place in the team so I can play regularly and win titles,” James said. “I am now in a club that is always hungry for titles. And I think that if you want to play here you must always keep a high level of performance. And I am prepared for that.”
James’ quest for playing time could be further complicated if Angel Di Maria stays with Madrid, with other clubs apparently put off by the large price tag for the Argentina winger.
That would leave James competing for time with the versatile Argentine, Francisco “Isco” Alarcon, Luka Modric and fellow new signing Toni Kroos.
“They are all stars,” James said. “For me it is a pleasure to be with them. Even training with them. It is something unique and I hope I can play here together with them for many years.”
Madrid plays Sevilla in the European Super Cup on Tuesday in Cardiff, Wales. It then faces Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup on Aug. 19 and 22 before opening the Spanish league on Aug. 25 against promoted club Cordoba.