James Rodriguez is aiming to spread his “winning mentality” at Everton – and vowing to bring the player’s glittering “A-game” to Goodison Park.
Superstar forward James joined Everton from Real Madrid on Monday and signed a two-year contract, with a Club option for a third season.
The 29-year-old – who expects “Colombia to turn blue” following his transfer – boasts an enviable trophy haul, featuring eight domestic championships and three major European titles.
James, the Golden Boot winner at the 2014 World Cup, had a fabulous campaign under Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid in 2014/15 and reunited with the Italian when joining Bayern Munich on loan in 2017.
Linking up with Ancelotti for a third time at Everton, Colombian James insists he is coming to the Club to “achieve great things” – and add talent and industry and goals to his new team.
“I’m a winner… a real winner. I like to win things and I’m convinced we can have a great season,” James told evertontv.
“I know we have a very talented squad, full of top players, and, I think, with the additions we’re making during this transfer window, it’s going to make us even stronger.
“Carlo Ancelotti was very keen to bring me here and has worked hard to bring that about.
“Now it is down to me to perform well, to play well, to bring my A -game to this club and bring that winning mentality, to make sure everyone in the Club believes we can win trophies.
“That is what we will be striving for.
“It is very good to feel wanted.
“You feel that desire even more to perform at your highest level all the time to repay that confidence and faith.
“I realise people have put a lot of effort into trying to sign me.
“I play very much for the rest of the team and work hard for the side.
“I am capable of creating goals and scoring goals.
“I hope to bring a bit more quality and maybe get the side playing more football.
“But, most importantly, I want to win things and I am convinced this club can do that.”
James enjoyed an exceptionally productive season with Ancelotti in Spain after opting for a move to Real Madrid when he was world football’s hottest property following the 2014 World Cup.
The player scored six goals in five appearances in the competition in Brazil and became a global sensation following his masterpiece strike in Colombia’s last-16 tie with Uruguay.
He conclusively lived up to his billing in Madrid, scoring 13 goals and supplying 13 assists in 29 La Liga matches to be crowned the division’s best player in 2014/15.
James apportions a large part of the credit for his initial success at the Bernabeu to Ancelotti.
And he is certain there is room for further improvement still under the guidance of one of few men on the planet with a top-drawer medal collection bigger than his own.
“That’s why I’ve come here: I’ve come here to try to improve, to get better,” said James.
“I’ve also come here to help the team to win, to play good football – entertaining football.
“I’m convinced, with Carlo and his technical staff, we can achieve great things.
“With hard work, that’s what we are all aiming for. I’ve got huge faith that is definitely a possibility.
“He is a manager who gives all his players a huge amount of confidence.
“He knows how to get the best out of each of his players. I had one really great season with him and I performed to the best of my ability at a really top level.
“There is that mutual trust there and I just can’t wait to get started playing for Everton.”
James has won league titles in Argentina, Portugal and Spain, in addition to two in Germany, earned with Bayern Munich during a two-year stay.
Capped 76 times by Colombia and with experience at Porto – where he was a Europa League winner in 2011 – and Champions League regulars Monaco, the player maintains he is joining a club whose ambition and potential matches those of any of his former employers.
“Carlo told me it is a very good club, with lots of positives,” said James.
“I can see the facilities here at the training ground are excellent.
“They tell the story of a club that wants to win things and succeed.
“I am convinced we can win trophies. I think the players coming in – myself and anyone else who is joining during this transfer window – can add that extra bit of quality and talent and, hopefully, we can go on to win things
“We are all winners and we want to be able to win silverware.
“I can see the project here is very serious.
“Everyone means business.
“I think the seriousness and determination to win trophies can lead to silverware.”
James began his professional career aged 14 with Envigado in Colombia and had two years at Argentinian club Banfield – winning one domestic championship – before joining Porto on the cusp of his 19th birthday in July 2010.
He scored 77 goals and assisted 84 in 227 appearances (175 starts) in the top leagues in Portugal, France, Spain and Germany in the intervening decade.
His exploits have inspired a legion of devoted fans and James has more than 60m social media followers.
He is consequently anticipating a notable surge in support for Everton in Colombia – where the Club already attracts attention thanks to James’s international teammate, defender Yerry Mina, preparing for his third Goodison season after arriving from Barcelona in 2018.
“I think half of Colombia are going to be turning blue,” added James, twice a Champions League winner with Real Madrid.
“I’m pleased that it will have such an impact in my country and we will get some more Evertonians there now, it will be a big impact for all of Colombia.
“I’m hopeful that I can perform at my highest level and give something back to the fans and to the Club, who have shown their faith in me, by putting in consistently good performances.
“I have seen for myself in the few days since I have been here [Merseyside] and on social media that excitement [among Evertonians about his impending arrival].
“I can see these fans are real, true supporters.
“I hope we can have a good, positive, mutual feeling between ourselves.
“What they can be sure of is I am going to give everything in every game situation: every play, every build-up. I will be trying my absolute best.”
Paul McNamara / Everton FC
This article was previously published on Everton FC