In signing James Rodriguez, Bayern Munich hope for return of 'Robben effect'
Record German football champions Bayern Munich are hoping for the "Robben effect" after Colombian forward James Rodriguez on Thursday joined the club on loan from Real Madrid for two seasons. Like James, Robben, who joined Bayern in 2009, was unhappy on the bench in Spain's capital, but while in Munich developed into one of Europe's best in the following years.
Head coach Carlo Ancelotti is convinced that James will improve Bayern's quality. The Italian expects the 26-year-old to return to top form in Munich after Real coach Zinedine Zidane ignored him in previous months. He even was excluded from the squad for the recent Champions League final, reports Xinhua news agency.
While the James deal could cost Bayern up to 48 million euros ($55 million), the club wants to benefit from the Colombian's good worldwide reputation. The new player will attract more fans, said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, especially in South America and China.
James was one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The move to Bayern has already generated enormous interest in the Bavarian club, which announced that social media and homepage hits have risen significantly as Bayern spoke about figures in the hundreds of thousands. Rummenigge said James would have an outstanding effect on the club's international image.
James himself is said to have earned over 16 million euros ($18.33 million) on his social media platform as one of the most popular figures in international football. Only superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi und Neymar (Barcelona) can beat Rodriguez when it comes to follower figures on social media channels. A total of 32.1 million are said to follow him only on Instagram. In comparison, Bayern Munich spearhead Robert Lewandowski has only 9.9 million followers. In Madrid, James's shirt was the top seller.
But James is not only a blessing for Bayern's marketing managers but for Bayern coach Ancelotti as well. The Italian star coach has long expressed his wishes of signing him. Now, Rummenigge has called the deal a bargain as international transfer fees have exploded. For the two-year loan period, Bayern will pay 10 million euros ($11.46). The additional three years (should the German club decide to keep James) will cost an additional 38 million euros ($43 million). Real Madrid paid $80 million when signing Rodriguez in 2014. Only 23 at the time, he had already won the trophy for the top scorer at the World Cup (with six goals). After the World Cup, Rodriguez had turned into an international superstar.