Former Colombia star Iván Valenciano has hit out at Everton’s James Rodríguez, labelling the midfielder a ‘merchandise’ signing.

Rodríguez is coming under increasing criticism once again as he spends another spell on the sidelines with an unidentified injury.

The Colombian international missed last night’s defeat to Chelsea with an unidentified problem, which also saw him miss the wins over Southampton and West Bromwich Albion.

Injuries have been something of an issue for Rodríguez again this season, with the midfielder missing all but one of Everton’s games over December with a calf strain.

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That is one of several niggling injuries he’s had to deal with this year, a fact that has not gone unnoticed in his home country, where there is regular scrutiny over Rodríguez’s form, fitness and injury record.

Indeed, the midfielder is never far away from being criticised, and now Valenciano, who, for those that don’t know, is the second-highest goalscorer in the history of the Colombian Primera A, has added his opinion.

“For me, he’s (Carlo Ancelotti) lying from every point of view; he’s totally lying,” he told ESPN.

“James is more about merchandising than football… Everton invested more in advertising than in a player.

“Ancelotti can’t say James is going to miss five games because surely the ‘sponsor’, the ‘merchandise’ or that kind of thing is lost.

“The medical staff surely told Ancelotti that James needs two months to recover… They told him that with the publicity people, he should handle the matter.”