BERLIN, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Things have not been going too well for James Rodriguez recently. The Colombian international is facing an uncertain future at Bayern Munich after missing parts of pre-season with a calf injury.
Rumors are swirling about a possible move back to Real Madrid as early as 2019. However, the 2018 German champions are hoping that the midfielder will recover and have praised his unique skills. For the moment, Bayern insiders are saying that the club does not intend to allow James to leave. Other media reports are speculating about James' demands to be a regular member of the starting 11.
The 27-year-old is more the silent type when it comes to talking about his future. Recently, he declined to play for the Colombian national team against Venezuela and Argentina in order to concentrate on his recovery and face the intense competition in Bayern's overcrowded midfield.
Bayern officials are praising James' decision to prioritize his club career, saying it is a good sign that James is determined to return as soon as possible. According to media reports, he will most likely be in Bayern's squad for the Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen this weekend, and in the 2018/2019 Champions League opener against Benfica.
But James also has to get over the disappointment of the last four months, having lost the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt, and having also had a disappointing World Cup with Colombia, when he was injured in their final group game.
James is currently playing catch-up at Bayern. 21 minutes of pitch time in two league games are said to be the first steps back to happiness. But the situation is a similar state of affairs to the start of the last campaign, with James trying to get in shape and find a place in the team.
Last season, James developed into one of Bayern's best performers, mainly in the second half of the season. Now he has been forced back to square one.
Kicker football magazine reports that things have been further complicated as Bayern coach Niko Kovac has been forced to rotate his squad to address the expectations of all his stars including James. Other senior players such as Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, and Jerome Boateng are said to be disappointed when they are not among the starting 11. So is James.
The magazine reports that James considered returning to Real this summer. Now it seems the topic will be on the agenda again next year.
At present, Kovac is using German internationals Leon Goretzka and Muller in the attacking midfield roles. Robben and Ribery remain first choices along the flanks, while Thiago sits in front of the defense. Meanwhile, Javi Martinez and Corentin Tolisso are also looking to stake a claim for a place in the starting lineup.
In 2019, Bayern can take up its option and pay Real an additional 42 million euros to the Spanish side to sign the Colombian permanently.
James' future will entirely depend on how his season pans out and whether he wants to stay in Munich or leave.
Kovac and the club's leaders are said to be keeping their fingers crossed that James returns to top form as soon as possible. In contrast to Robben, Ribery or Boateng, James is a potential long-term asset for a Bayern side that the club is constantly trying to rejuvenate.
Now it seems up to James to think about his future. His fans simply say they want him to be happy again.