James Rodriguez is determined to make history at Real Madrid rather than crumble under the pressure of becoming the fourth most expensive player of all time.
The 23-year-old World Cup Golden Boot winner has signed a six-year contract with the European champions, with Monaco receiving a reported €80 million (£63 million) fee.
Rodriguez trails only Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo — both his new team-mates at Real — and Barcelona’s Luis Suarez on the list of football’s most expensive transfers.
The Colombian attacking midfielder is not fazed by figures, however, and simply wants to work alongside Bale and Ronaldo in the pursuit of further glory following Madrid’s recent Champions League triumph.
He said last night: “The numbers mean nothing to me. I just want to help make history and bring joy to the Madrid fans. This is a club which is used to winning and I’m prepared mentally and physically to do so.”
Rodriguez was one of the revelations of the World Cup, scoring in each of Colombia’s games as they reached the quarter-finals for the very first time, eventually losing 2-1 to hosts Brazil.
Rodriguez scored six goals at the World Cup to finish as the leading scorer, while his stunning 25-yard volley against Uruguay was voted goal of the tournament.
His signing comes less than a week after Madrid brought in another of the World Cup’s star performers in Germany’s Toni Kroos, who moved from Bayern Munich for a reported £24m.
Rodriguez added: “I’ve a suffered a lot to get here and when you do that then it tastes so much better. I hope to work hard, to train well, and to experience a lot of joy here. I know I am under a lot of pressure, but I am happy to face it.”
Rodriguez began his professional career with Colombian side Envigado before moving down to Argentinian club Banfield aged 17. He signed for Porto for £4m in 2010. Three years later he joined Monaco for £38.5m after helping the Portuguese side win a hat-trick of league titles and the 2011 Europa League.
In other transfer news, Steven Caulker has signed for Premier League newcomers QPR. The 22-year-old centre-back has joined Harry Redknapp’s side after just one season at Cardiff, who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
Caulker, 22, has signed a four-year deal after an undisclosed fee was agreed with Cardiff for a player who won his solitary England cap in 2012. He follows fellow centre-back Rio Ferdinand to the London club. “Harry Redknapp has given me the opportunity to be at this fantastic club,” Caulker said.
Elsewhere, Stoke have signed Spanish striker Bojan Krkic from Barcelona on a four-year deal. The 23-year-old broke into the Barca first team in 2007 but struggled to make an impression after re-signing following two years at Roma, and moves to the Britannia Stadium for an undisclosed fee.
Potters manager Mark Hughes said: “Anyone who knows European football will be aware of him as a player and the fact that he sees his future at Stoke City is really exciting and an endorsement of the club itself.”
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