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Colombia cuts James Rodriguez from Copa America squad


Nepalnews
2021 May 29, 12:40, Kathmandu
Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez, right, of Everton, takes a shot off the sweep of Chris Basham of Sheffield United in a Premier League game at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. Photo: AP

Everton playmaker James Rodriguez was Friday cut from Colombia's squad for upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America.

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) said medical examinations showed the 29-year-old lacked "an optimal level of competition", without providing further details.

"The manager [Reinaldo Rueda] and his backroom staff regret not being able to call upon James Rodriguez and hope that the midfielder will soon ... represent our country with the professionalism as he has always shown," read an official FCF statement.

Rodriguez, who joined Everton from Real Madrid last September, has been restricted to just one appearance for the Toffees since late April because of a shin problem.

The former Bayern Munich player took to social media to express his dismay at the FCF's announcement.

"It was with surprise that I received the statement from the backroom team saying they would not be able to count on me and wishing me a speedy recovery," Rodriguez said.

"I have already recovered and sacrificed a lot," he said on social media. "It filled me with great disappointment. Not having the support of the technical staff causes me huge sadness."

Colombia will resume its World Cup qualifying campaign against Peru in Lima on June 3 before hosting Argentina in Barranquilla five days later.

Rueda's men are currently seventh in the 10-team South American zone standings. The top four teams will automatically qualify for football's showpiece tournament in Qatar next year while the fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff.

The Copa America is scheduled to be played in Argentina from June 13 to July 10. The South American Football Confederation last week dropped Colombia as a tournament co-host because of social unrest in the Andean country. 

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