James Rodriguez is a 23 year old Colombian soccer player, who was recently transferred to Real Madrid after playing for AS Monaco FC. James has been an excellent player for some time now, but gained significantly more fame recently after stellar performance playing for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup. That being said €81 million is about $109 million USD, a lot of money to pay for the transfer of an athlete. Even though James is an excellent player, that transfer price is the same as Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
While Real Madrid has never been shied away from a transfer that they want by financial reasons, the interest in acquiring James is a bit puzzling. It’s curious because Real Madrid already has Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Isco contending for the same position, and it doesn’t really seem that they need more power here. Even more, Real Madrid has had the historical tendency of overpaying (depending on who you ask) for players after the World Cup, and this could follow in the same vein.
Its important to note however, that there are many factors at play when signing a high profile player like James. Whether they need him or not, James became one of the worlds most popular players after the World Cup and fits right in to Real’s superstar lineup. That is, there is a lot of buzz that Real Madrid created for itself after signing James. Even further, James is marketing power for Madrid, pulling on fans who supported James during the World Cup and generating huge profits from jersey, ticket, advertising, and memorabilia sales. For example Read Madrid sold 345,000 James Rodriguez jerseys within 48 hours of the jersey being unveiled generating £20.7 million in sales from the jerseys in this 48 hours alone. Finally, there could have been considerable political motivations at play. It seems that buying James was Real’s response to Barcelona buying Luis Suarez, a common phenomenon between Real Madrid and Barcelona. All in all, James was an expensive buy and not one that Real Madrid necessarily needed, but he’s an excellent player, brings great publicity to Real, and generates incredible revenue for Real Madrid.