Hector Fabio Cruz, a former Colombian national team doctor, spoke to Futbolred, earlier this month and took a major dig at James and his professionalism: ‘The boy isn’t focused. Instead of working for the new season he went to fix his eyebrows and his hair while he should have been working. Big teams like Madrid expect professionalism, who will be prepared, but this boy has a bad head,” he told the Colombian outlet.
Cruz referenced James inability to hold down a spot at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as an example of his poor attitude and preparation. “A player who spends months away from the pitch and goes from club to club, how does he stay there? He’ll stay at first, but if he prepared properly he wouldn’t suffer any of this. I already predicted that it would go wrong because he doesn’t work,” Cruz explained.
The doctor then choose to use Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible work ethic as something James should model himself after. “Cristiano took a week of vacation,’ Cruz said. ‘He went on a yacht with his family to Greece and then the following week he had 15 people preparing him for the season. He’s the most professional guy I know. James left the World Cup injured, hired a private plane, went to the beach and relaxed. That cannot be.”
Now, after these quotes made waves in Colombia and across the world, James Rodriguez ex-wife, Daniela Ospina, has come to the defense of Madrid midfielder and refuted those claims after being asked by Carcacol — another Colombia outlet — whether the doctor’s words had any credence:
“It’s a total lack of respect. What I know of James, if there is something to be highlighted about him, it is his discipline and in particular, how he prepares. I don’t have to defend him, but it’s the truth. He demands the most of himself and goes above and beyond in his work,” she explained.
Reports from Marca and Cadena Cope this summer, have suggested that Zidane has been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the work ethic and attitude James has displayed in training. Those reports held some weight after Zidane gave James his first start for Real Madrid in over two years since his last cameo in a white shirt. The Colombian will be looking to prove Cruz and all of his doubters wrong with a big season at Real Madrid. He is expected to return to fitness ahead of the next La Liga game vs Levante on September 14th.