After signing the most impressive player of the World Cup this summer, the first question you ask about James Rodriguez is just where he will fit into the Real Madrid team this season. Unfortunately for the Colombian, the most likely answer, when everybody is fully fit, is on the bench.
It seems outrageous that Carlo Ancelotti would bench a player that the club has just bought for £60 million, but this is what happens when the president buys star players without too much consideration for the head coach’s input. Ancelotti has already been through a similar situation when Isco was signed from Malaga last summer. Isco started well but as soon as everybody was fully fit, the Spaniard found himself on the bench more and more.
Isco could’ve fit into the team alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, but a 4-2-3-1 is pretty much the only viable option to do so. That option was tried by Ancelotti but it just didn’t work effectively, and subsequently, Isco was then sacrificed to the bench. This season will be a similar scenario again. Ancelotti likes to stick to a 4-3-3 formation, but you just cannot get Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema and Rodriguez all into a 4-3-3.
With Ancelotti reluctant to change, it could be a frustrating first year for Rodriguez in Madrid. Last season, Ancelotti thought the 4-2-3-1 was unbalanced in the midfield area, and with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos now filling that area, the balance would be even worse. Kroos and Modric will need a defensive midfielder behind them and the 4-3-3 that Ancelotti will play will allow for that.
It may not be what the Madrid president, Madrid fans or Rodriguez himself wants to hear, but in all likelihood, Rodriguez will play from the bench at Madrid this season.