By Adebayo Williams
Colombia legend Faustino Asprilla has said that Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has been a bad influence for James Rodriguez. Asprilla, who played for Newcastle and Parma in his days, said Rodriguez had chided his teammates on the pitch for not passing the ball to him. He alleged that he learnt the act from Ronaldo whom he said does it week in week out at Madrid.
“Lately what I am seeing from James – who I love and respect a lot – is that his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid is damaging him.
“He has the same gestures when they don’t give him the ball [in the Colombia team]. When they don’t give Cristiano the ball he gesticulates to everyone. In Colombia [James] waves his arms at his teammates.
“At the start of the game he scowled at Alavarez Balanta and made a gesture. I don’t know if it was because he didn’t pass the ball or not, ” he told ESPN.
Asprilla, who won 57 caps for his country during his playing days, said the 25-year-old needed to show his teammates more respect. He said the Madrid player was fortunate he was in Colombia’s team as he could have been slapped in other teams with such antics.
“The first thing James needs to do is help his teammates improve because he’s playing in a team of youngsters who respect him and no one dares say anything to him.
“In another team they’d give him a slap. At least in the Colombia side I played in we wouldn’t stand for it.
“It’s normal to argue with the referee and quarrel with rival players, but with your teammates it’s not.
“You can quarrel, but doing it because one of your teammates didn’t pass the ball is the ugliest thing you can do as a footballer. He’s picked up that habit from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does it every eight days.”
Rodriguez is currently enduring a turbulent time at the Santiago Bernabeu seeing limited playing time under Zinedine Zidane. He had arrived the club from Monaco after an impressive showing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.