Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez has denied to AS that the upcoming Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid are an opportunity for revenge.
James spent three seasons at the Bernabeu, joining as an €80 million signing following the 2014 World Cup and providing 36 goals and 41 assists in 111 games as he won seven trophies — including the Champions League twice and La Liga in 2016-17.
The Colombia international never settled into a regular first-team spot, however, and was loaned to Bayern last summer, with the Bundesliga club likely, but not certain, to take up a €42m option to make the deal permanent.
James said that although the semifinal legs, in Munich on April 25 and in Madrid on May 1, would be special to him, the main thing was to ensure Bayern qualified for the final.
“Of course, these two games will be special for me,” James said. “I played three years there, was happy and have everything there — friends and good memories. But I am just thinking about my team and preparing as well as possible. We want to make the final. Nothing else is important.”
Bayern and Madrid have met more times in European competition than any other fixture, and this year, the German side will look to move on after being knocked out by Madrid in the quarterfinals a year ago.
After last year’s tie, Bayern were angry when Arturo Vidal was sent off in the second leg and were sure Cristiano Ronaldo was offside for two of his crucial three goals.
“I believe there is no need to take it as revenge, just another pair of games looking to make the final,” James said. “They are almost always unique games considering the two clubs meeting, but we must just focus on ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama told El Heraldo that he believes James will be motivated to show his former team what they missed by scoring a spectacular late goal to send Bayern through to the final against either Liverpool or Roma in Kiev on May 26.
“I would guess he wants this game to come, as he knows that his revenge can be there,” Valderrama said. “I am with Bayern for James. It would be good — not much time left, free kick, and James sticks it in the top corner.”