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Colombia removes James Rodriguez from its Copa America lineup

James Rodriguez

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez was omitted from Colombia’s team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Copa America on Friday.

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) stated that medical checks revealed the 29-year-old lacked “an adequate level of competition,” but did not elaborate.

“The manager [Reinaldo Rueda] and his backroom team regret not being able to call on James Rodriguez and hope that the midfielder will soon… represent our country with the professionalism that he has always demonstrated,” read an official FCF statement.

Rodriguez, who joined Everton from Real Madrid in September, has only made one appearance for the Toffees since late April due to a shin injury.

The former Bayern Munich player expressed his disappointment with the FCF’s announcement on social media.

“I was surprised to get the statement from the backroom team saying they would be unable to rely on me and wishing me a swift recovery,” Rodriguez explained.

“I’ve already recovered and made a lot of sacrifices,” he remarked on social media. “It was a huge disappointment for me. I’m very sorry since I don’t have the technical staff’s help.”

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

Rueda’s men are now seventh in the South American zone’s 10-team standings. The top four teams will automatically qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while the fifth-placed team will progress to an intercontinental playoff.