The national federation confirmed the Everton midfielder would not be available for matches against Peru and Argentina, nor this summer’s tournament
James Rodriguez has been ruled out of Colombia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Argentina, and the subsequent Copa America this summer.
The Everton midfielder had been called up by manager Reinaldo Rueda for the qualifying fixtures and the South American regional tournament, but will no longer be available as Colombia look to take steps towards reaching Qatar in 2022.
James, the primary creative force in the Colombian team, has suffered from injury issues throughout the 2020-21 campaign and was rested for Everton’s final Premier League game against Manchester City in a bid to be fit – but to no avail.
What has been said?
A statement from the Colombian FA read: “The coaching staff of the Colombia men’s senior team reports that the player James Rodriguez has been ruled out for the games against Peru and Argentina for the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021.
“In recent days, the midfielder was subjected to medical examinations, which determined that he is not at the optimal level of competition, therefore he will not be able to join the group called by Reinaldo Rueda for the aforementioned commitments and the South American championship.
“The coach and his team of collaborators regret not being able to count on James this time and hope that soon the midfielder will be able to be part of a squad, representing our country with the height and professionalism as he has always done.”
How big a miss will James be?
The former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich attacking midfielder remains an essential part of the Colombia set-up and will be sorely missed at the Copa America, which they were due to co-host with Argentina, only to recently lose hosting rights due to ongoing protests against president Ivan Duque.
They are in Group B alongside holders Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru for the 10-team tournament. The top four in each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.
Before that, Colombia travel to Peru on June 4 and then host Argentina five days later in the CONMEBOL section of World Cup qualifying. They open their Copa America campaign on June 15 against Ecuador.
Colombia have made an underwhelming start to World Cup qualifying with just four points from their opening four games in the 10-team league, with only the top four qualifying automatically. This included a 6-1 defeat to Ecuador in their opening match.