James Rodriguez hopes he can reach Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo levels

James Rodriguez responded by saying, “why not?” when asked if he could one day rise to the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the world football stage.

The 26-year-old, who just completed a two-year loan move from Real Madrid to Bayern Munich after three seasons in Spain, is back with his former manager at the Bernabeu, Carlo Ancelotti, and is with the team on their tour of China.

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When asked if he could reach the heights of the men who have monopolised the Ballon d’Or award for the past nine years, he said to Omnisport: “Why not? [Messi and Ronaldo] are big players. I’ll be ready for what happens in the future and improve in world football.”

James enjoyed his best days at Real during his first year there and Ancelotti’s last as manager, scoring 17 goals and adding 16 assists across all competitions.

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But the Colombia international failed to settle into a regular place in the subsequent reigns of Rafa Benitez and current manager Zinedine Zidane and was loaned to the Bavarian powerhouse for a reported annual fee of €5 million with the option to make the deal permanent for €35.2m.

Now he finds himself in a similar situation to his predicament in Madrid, having to fight for his place in a team filled with world-class talent and competitors.

“We have big players at Bayern and the competition for the team is very intense,” he said.

“I have to win my place through training hard every day. I want more minutes and more success [than last season].

“It’s a unique club, with the obligation of winning trophies and I hope it continues next season.”

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