In case you missed it in the news over the international break, things did not exactly go well for Everton’s James Rodriguez.
The Colombian had something of a fortnight to forget with his national side, seeing them beaten 3-0 by Uruguay and then 6-1 by Ecuador on Tuesday.
Those performances saw Rodriguez, who is very much the talisman of the side, heavily criticised in his home country, with some debating whether he should even be playing at this point.
Amid the reports was a claim that the Everton star had been involved in a dressing room bust-up with Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez and Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma.
That is something Rodriguez has since vehemently denied, even going as far as to threaten legal action over the matter.
The whole affair is ugly, to say the least, and Marca’s Colombian edition have provided a bit of an insight into what’s going on.
First of all, they say with ‘certainty’ that there is no evidence of a fight in the dressing room nor has it been possible to confirm that Everton’s Rodriguez ‘came to blows’ with anybody.
However, any talk of a fracture in the dressing room is not wide of the mark.
They explain that the group arrived ‘broken in spirit’ after the defeat to Uruguay and the defeat to Ecuador only helped further demonstrate their ‘broken’ nature.
They say there is a ‘cancer’ in the group and it began when Rodriguez was stripped of the captaincy by manager Carlos Quieroz.
The Everton man ‘did not like at all’ that it has been removed of him having felt that this was his ‘moment to command the team’ in the absence of striker Falcao.
Quieroz, though, elected David Ospina, believing he was a better choice after Rodriguez arrived ‘without rhythm’ thanks to the ‘problems’ he had with Everton over the last month.
It had been understood that James could also be replaced in the first-team due to his form and his struggles in the ‘extreme humidity’, but in the dressing room the ‘message didn’t sit well’.
Many of the players ‘showed their displeasure’, and from there the situation compounded to the point where Quieroz has now ‘lost the group’.
He is now expected to be removed from his position, with the group left ‘without a clear leader’ and James very much out of favour.