Real Madrid are into a third Champions League final in a row, but they were made to work for it. A 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu had Zinedine Zidane's men sweating for half an hour after James Rodríguez grabbed an equalizer in the second half.
After scoring the goal James did not celebrate. He was still, after all, playing in front his own fans. This is the first season of a two-year loan with the option to buy. His non-celebration is a relatively trivial act that could be perceived as maintaining some sort of relationship between player and fan.
However, with ten minutes left in the tie, the Colombian playmaker committed a cardinal sin of football. With ten minutes left, Marco Asensio drove forward with the ball only to slip. He then proceeded to clutch his calf, supposedly stricken with a cramp. Bayern Munich looked to launch an attack until James got the ball and put it out of play.
That’s rubbish. He’s gone down with cramp & Bayern put the ball out 10 mins from time in a champions league semi final. Such shite!!
— Alan Cawley (@alancaw) May 1, 2018
James putting the ball out for a player down has killed all momentum for Bayern. I would be livid with him as manager. Play to the whistle. It's up to the ref to stop play.
— Gas Craic Altogether (@AnnieAura) May 1, 2018
By the way that's criminal from James. Former teammate or not, you don't kick the ball out in a Champions League semi-final for cramp.
— Ryan Taylor (@RyanTaylorSport) May 1, 2018
James has been very good. Deserved to be taken off for kicking the ball out, and Thiago didn't look happy when he did it.
— Shane Stapleton (@ShaneSaint) May 1, 2018
Kicking the ball out of play for cramp 🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) May 1, 2018
Gone well for Bayern since they put that ball out 🤔
— Sam Lee (@SamLee) May 1, 2018
I see no reason in a European Cup semi final to play the ball out when an opposition player has cramp. Fucking win.
— Trevenderson (@Trevski_LFC) May 1, 2018
Kicking the ball out of play like that is even more ridiculous than the non-celebration celebration.
— Eoin McDevitt (@EoinMcDevitt) May 1, 2018
Why the fuk did James kick ball out there ...take him off
— Grizz Khan (@GrizzKhan) May 1, 2018
It is hard to imagine James electing for this option if it was not against his former club and the reaction of his team-mates was certainly interesting. Nevertheless, Real Madrid are through to a final and await the victor of Roma vs Liverpool.