Faustino Asprilla believes Cristiano Ronaldo is a bad influence on James Rodriguez, with the Colombia international replicating many of his Real Madrid colleague’s more unfortunate on-field actions.
James is the star turn within his national side’s ranks, as a performer gracing the books of one of world football’s biggest teams.
That can only be considered a positive for the South American nation, but Asprilla fears that time spent working with global superstars has gone to the 25-year-old’s head.
He has seen too much negative body language from the talented playmaker of late, with his gestures towards team-mates that do not pass him the ball or perform as he expects mirroring those often seen from Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Asprilla, who won 57 caps for his country during his playing days, told ESPN of James’ actions during Colombia’s 3-0 defeat to Argentina on Tuesday: “Lately what I am seeing from James – who I love and respect a lot – is that his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid is damaging him.
“He has the same gestures when they don’t give him the ball [in the Colombia team]. When they don’t give Cristiano the ball he gesticulates to everyone. In Colombia [James] waves his arms at his teammates.”
“At the start of the game he scowled at Alavarez Balanta and made a gesture. I don’t know if it was because he didn’t pass the ball or not.”
Former Newcastle and Parma forward Asprilla believes James needs to show greater respect to his teammates – many of whom look up to him – saying that it is likely that he would ‘get a slap’ if he tried his international antics in any other team.
He added: “The first thing James needs to do is help his teammates improve because he’s playing in a team of youngsters who respect him and no one dares say anything to him.
“In another team they’d give him a slap. At least in the Colombia side I played in we wouldn’t stand for it.
“It’s normal to argue with the referee and quarrel with rival players, but with your teammates it’s not.
"You can quarrel, but doing it because one of your teammates didn’t pass the ball is the ugliest thing you can do as a footballer. He’s picked up that habit from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does it every eight days.”