James Rodriguez has not moved to Bayern Munich to replace Thomas Muller, insists Carlo Ancelotti.
The Colombia international sealed a two-year loan switch to the Allianz Arena this month after he struggled for regular first-team action at Real Madrid.
James will enjoy a reunion with Ancelotti, who initially brought him to the Santiago Bernabeu from Monaco following his stellar displays at the 2014 World Cup, where he took home the Golden Boot.
After banging in 20 goals in the 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign, Muller struggled badly last time around and managed just five in 29 appearances.
When it was put to Ancelotti that James could be seen as a replacement for the Germany international, the coach was unequivocal in his response.
— James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 18, 2017
“Of course we didn’t buy James to replace Thomas Muller,” said the Italian ahead of Wednesday’s International Champions Cup meeting with Arsenal in Shanghai.
“If you think this way you can think he will replace Thiago [Alcantara] because he can play in the centre. He can play on the right or the left and so he can replace [Arjen] Robben or [Franck] Ribery.
“Sometimes I put him as a midfielder so he can replace [Corentin] Tolisso and [Arturo] Vidal. We didn’t buy James to replace anyone. We bought James to add to the team.
“He is a good player. I know about his quality and his personality. I think he can help us. James knows if he doesn’t deserve to play he doesn’t play. He goes on the bench like a lot of players do.
“We have a lot of competition and this is good for the team. He has no guarantee to play. If he deserves to play he will play. If not, he will go on the bench.”
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) July 18, 2017
Muller was sat alongside Ancelotti at Tuesday’s media conference and, like his coach, was unruffled by the line of questioning.
“Very interesting question,” he said. “I know this has made headlines and this is why we are here, to break the rumours.
“With James we have more options. He’s an excellent midfielder and will bring support to the team.
“Our coach is very happy for him to join us and he will have more choices. He is a very good player, will improve the overall quality and help us reach more goals.”
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