Hands off Rodriguez, say Monaco, as he gets set to ruin Brazil’s party

 
Frank Dalleres
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COLOMBIA playmaker James Rodriguez’s suitors have been warned to forget about signing the World Cup’s breakout star, as he plots an end to Brazilian hopes of a first home triumph in the tournament.

Monaco say they have no intention of cashing in on Rodriguez just one year after they flexed their newfound financial muscle by splashing around £40m on the midfielder.

Rodriguez himself insists he is happy playing in France and, in a blow to his English admirers, would in any case favour a switch to Spain over a stint in the Premier League.

The World Cup’s top scorer with five from four games, including two goal of the tournament contenders, leads his team against hot favourites Brazil in tonight’s quarter-final.

“Everyone was surprised at the large sum we spent last year and now everyone is talking about him – that means we were right,” said Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev. “We strongly believe in this player, it is very important to us, he has four years on his contract and we will do many great things together.”

The 22-year-old is not thinking of moving yet, but believes Spain’s technical emphasis would suit him better than the blood and thunder of the English game.

“I’ve said I’d like to play in Spain one day, because the league is good technically, and you get a lot of touches on the ball, which is my style,” he said. “The Premier League is maybe a bit physical at this stage.”

Colombia’s progress has caused sufficient national pride to prompt president Juan Manuel Santos to decree a half-day holiday. Brazil, meanwhile, appear uneasy with the weight of expectation, with the team psychologist called upon to address players emotionally drained by a penalty shoot-out win over Chile.