Football

Rodriguez eyes Champions League glory with Bayern

Colombian confident he can rediscover his best form with Bayern

With 11 goals in 32 games, Colombian hitman James Rodriguez may not have fired on all cylinders for Real Madrid as the Galacticos romped to a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

But the 26-year-old is confident he will rediscover his best form in his two-year loan stint with Bayern Munich.

Fully aware that the Bayern faithful is no longer satisfied with just domestic glory after five Bundesliga triumphs on the trot, Rodriguez told The New Paper yesterday: "I would like to be the person to propel Bayern to become European champions.

"Bayern are a big club, always fighting for major titles. They are a world-class club and that was what I was looking for.

"I'm looking to win titles and play much more than I used to play with Real Madrid.

"I also want to assist the team with many goals."

Rodriguez shot to fame at the 2014 World Cup where he won the Golden Boot with six goals and impressed with his technique and vision.

He earned a move to Real, who were then led by current Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, and scored 17 goals in 46 games. But he was reduced to 19 goals in 64 games after the Italian was replaced by Zinedine Zidane.

But Rodriguez has not given up his dream of becoming the best footballer in the world, and said: "Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are big players.

"I'll be ready for what happens in the future and improve in world football.

"I'm open to Carlo's directions and hope to play as central midfielder, but I'm fine with any position he plays me in."

Another Bayern forward with a point to prove is Thomas Mueller, who scored just nine goals in 42 games for his worst return in his eight full seasons with the first team of his hometown club.

There were suggestions that Rodriguez's arrival at the Allianz Arena could spell the end of Mueller's time with Bayern, but Ancelotti said: "We didn't buy James to replace Thomas Mueller. 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."

There were no signs of animosity as the two Bayern attackers shared the same stage for the adidas Storm the City event in front of about 200 fans at Clifford Square last night.

Indeed, the affable Mueller jovially singled out his new teammate as the best dancer in the team, to which Rodriguez duly obliged with a boyish grin and a celebration jig.

The duo, along with teammate David Alaba and local football personalities such as Fandi Ahmad, helped set up a Singapore record for the longest football dribble relay at 10.6km.

"James is a great player, and we will try to play together great games and win many points and many titles," said Mueller, who calls himself "The Raumdeuter" for his ability to find and create space on the pitch.

The 27-year-old vowed to bounce back this term after having a good post-season rest as Germany won the Confederations Cup without many senior players like himself.

He said: "Last season, there were a few changes in terms of personnel and tactics, but now the coach and I know each other much better.

"World Cup year is coming up so this season will be special. The Raumdeuter is still alive and kicking, look out for him."

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