On 22nd July 2014 Real Madrid presented their latest star signing: James Rodríguez. As usual when Real Madrid, or any other club shells out a big transfer fee, the player’s wages are not what they’d be if it weren’t for the high initial outlay. At the time of the deal, club directors made it clear to the former Monaco schemer and his agent, Jorge Mendes, that after two seasons, the contract would be reviewed, with the aim of improving the current 5-million-euro-a-year deal he has with the club.
A year and a half in to the contract and James is one of the stand-out players in the squad, some might say the man with the brightest future. With this in mind, Mendes spoke to the club a couple of months ago, reminding them of their promise. Comparisons were used between what James earns and the wages commanded by some of his teammates, such as Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos – who are both on 10 million a year, double the Colombian’s salary -, as leverage in the discussions, together with the level of performances put in by the forward.
As can happen at this stage in contract negotiations, rumours about the player’s private life have surfaced, questioning his physical condition, his weight and even his professionalism. The same type of gossip that was heard when other Real Madrid players were involved in the renewal of their contracts.
In the cases of Mesut Özil and Ángel Di María, the players ended up moving away from the Santiago Bernabéu, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Ramos also received similar slurs, although for them, there was a happy ending and a new contract. These stories have been known to have been started by sources close to the club and often lead to a breakdown in relationships between the two parties which can be difficult to resolve.