Bayern Munich have put their foot down and barred tenacious forward James Rodríguez from playing in Colombia's crucial 2018 World Cup Qualification match against Venezuela on Thursday. The 26-year-old has recently recovered from a thigh injury, but the club are concerned that he could face a further injury set-back if he returns to action too quickly.
Making a statement on their official website, the club addressed their decision to withdraw the player from selection for the game, but noted that he could feature in their second match of the international break against Brazil next week. The statement read:
"The Colombian FA has called up James Rodríguez for the World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela on 31 August and Brazil on 5 September. The FCB pro will travel to South America in accordance with the FIFA regulations. However, the 26-year-old will not be available for selection in the first match, as an examination by FCB club medic Dr Volker Braun revealed.
"This has been agreed with the Colombia international. It remains to be seen if James will be available for the second match, the decision will be made after consultation with Dr Volker Braun and the Colombian national team doctor."
Colombian fans may well feel aggrieved with Bayern's decision, as the match is crucial in their efforts to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The South American country are currently in second place in their tight qualification group, with Uruguay, Chile and Argentina hot on their heels. The first four teams in the group will make next summer's tournament in Russia.
Rodríguez burst onto the world footballing scene in the 2014 World Cup, playing tremendously well for his country. His performances sparked Real Madrid to sign him from Porto that summer, but he has failed to impress since moving to the La Liga giants, and is currently on loan with Bayern Munich.