Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that James Rodriguez is now in the perfect place to succeed after making an exceptional start to life in the Premier League.
The Colombian joined Everton in summer on a two-year-deal from Spanish giants Real Madrid, six years after he moved to the Bernabeu for £63m following a stellar showing at the 2014 World Cup.
The 29-year-old endured a miserable final few years in the Spanish capital, and was loaned out to Bayern Munich between 2017 and 2019 - where he was reunited with Ancelotti, who had departed as Real's manager in 2015.
After a year in the wilderness, Real allowed him to join Everton for free and speaking to NBC Sport (via Marca), Ancelotti admitted he's delighted with how Rodriguez has adapted to life in England, praising his talent on the ball and stating that Merseyside is the "perfect" place for him to showcase his abilities.
“He’s a great, talented player. He doesn’t miss passes, never loses control of the ball or wastes shots on target. He doesn’t play complicated football, he thinks of football as a simple thing,” Ancelotti explained.
"First of all, James Rodriguez wanted to find a new club where he could play more often than what he was playing at Real Madrid. He spent quite some time in Spain, in Madrid and he didn’t play much. He wanted a new challenge and was desperate.
"I think he is in the right place now because he knows me and I know him. Everton want to improve and have a big project so I think he found the right club for him to show his quality,”
Everton made a great start to this year's Premier League campaign and were touted as early favourites to penetrate the top four after topping the table with four wins from four.
But they are now winless in their last four games, having sampled defeat against Newcastle, Southampton and Manchester United, while picking up a point in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
The Toffees strengthened their squad significantly over the summer, meanwhile, bringing in Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey, but they continue to be linked with a move for Rodriguez's former Real Madrid teammate Isco.
The Spaniard has fallen out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, and is said to have been 'black listed' by the Frenchman after Isco was caught on camera criticising his manager. A reunion with Ancelotti, who made the 28-year-old his first signing as Real Madrid manager, shouldn't be ruled out, particularly as his contract runs out in the summer of 2022.