Did James Rodriguez really play for Everton?
Or were those defence-splitting passes, pin-point diagonals and wondrous performances against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur nothing more than a dream?
The Goodison Park faithful may never get the chance to bask in the brilliance of arguably the most gifted footballer to don that royal blue shirt since the turn of the century.
Everton fans yet to see Rodriguez in the flesh
Ten months after his marquee arrival from Real Madrid, fears are growing on the blue half of Merseyside that James will be heading for the exit without ever being given the chance to strut his stuff in front of a raucous Gwladys Street End.
It’s no secret Carlo Ancelotti was the biggest, most influential factor in James’ shock decision to join a club that finished 12th in the Premier League the previous season – the definition of mid-table mediocrity.
The former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid manager has become a footballing father figure to the playmaker who, despite his undeniable talent, has always looked ill at ease with the high-octane, gegen-press realities of modern football.
Ancelotti – footballing father figure to Rodriguez
Ancelotti, in short, was willing to take the rough with the smooth, accepting James’ lack of speed and defensive discipline as long as he was pulling rabbits out of the hat at the other end.
But with the Italian expected to walk away from Everton in favour of a return to Real Madrid, it’s hard to imagine Ancelotti’s successor – especially if it’s David Moyes – finding a place for antiquated individualist James Rodriguez.
Here’s what some Everton fans had to say about the matter on Twitter:
In other news, Report shares what Harry Kane thinks about possible Pochettino return and Tottenham’s transfers