Saturday, December 16, 2017

James beats Bayern´s best for goal creation – The Opta stats behind the Real Madrid outcast

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Jul 2017

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James Rodriguez left Real Madrid on Tuesday to take a second bite at proving his talents with one of Europe’s biggest clubs, agreeing a two-year loan deal with Bayern Munich.

Colombia international James was the breakout star of the 2014 World Cup but saw his first-team opportunities dwindle over the course of his three years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

As part of the deal that takes the 25-year-old to Germany, Bayern can reportedly make the move permanent for €35million, and a look at James’ stats since he arrived in Spain suggest that would be a bargain.

Despite making just 77 LaLiga appearances for Madrid – 59 of those from the start – James has been a prolific creative force in the Madrid attack when given the chance.

Since joining Madrid in 2014, only six men have set up more LaLiga goals than James, whose 27 assists are only outstripped by Cristiano Ronaldo (33) and Toni Kroos (29) among the Real ranks.

Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez top that list with 43, but James’ figures put him level with Bayern’s Thomas Muller in the Bundesliga over the same period, with the Germany international – the Bavarians’ top assist maker in that time – having featured in 15 more league matches.

In total, James was involved in 55 Madrid goals in LaLiga, placing him just five short of regular starter Gareth Bale over the same period. Cristiano Ronaldo predictably dwarfs his colleagues in this category, contributing to 141 Madrid goals.

When chances that did not result in a goal are taken into account, James’ workrate and value to his team become yet clearer.

Only Kroos has created more goalscoring opportunities for Madrid than James since he joined the club. 

Behind Kroos’ 208, James’ 181 puts him well clear of the likes of Ronaldo (157) and Bale (123), in a statistic that demonstrates just what this under-utilised talent can bring to Bayern.

Over the same period, Muller has created 160 chances in the German top flight, 21 short of James, while Bayern’s next best, Arjen Robben, has managed 126.

The numbers more than add up for Bayern. All that remains is for Carlo Ancelotti – the man under whom James spent his first and best season in Madrid – to give him the platform to show his undoubted ability. 

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