Rafa Benítez is missing a single piece from his puzzle, a key one that will boost the whole team once fitted into place.
James Rodríguez has just celebrated his one-year anniversary at the club, during which he has become a pivotal member of the team to the extent that the Real Madrid side competing in China will bear little resemblance to next season's until the Colombian touches down.
James will be the last player to report for pre-season and the final component of Benítez's starting eleven, barring any possible new signings. The 24 year old is capable of playing in several positions: he can boost the attack during barren spells and protect the defence when under pressure. The left-footed player will be the team's transformer who will put Benítez's intentions into practice and ensure they constantly play with the appropriate style.
Both Benítez and the club know that James must be one of the symbols of the team. His performance in his debut season was worthy of praise as his ability and productivity on the pitch correspond with what he achieves off it. The Colombian has become a money-making machine for 'Los Blancos', especially in South America, where the club did not previously enjoy a dominant position.
Although the transfer fee paid to Monaco was above James's market value at the time, the deal became profitable within a few months to the point where his worth has already reached the €80 million that Real Madrid paid for him.
The midfielder is yet to sport a club training kit so far this season, but that does not mean he has neglected his physical shape in any way. His new coach is already impressed with his professionalism and is said to be counting down the hours until James will be available.
Both supporters and club management were delighted with the player's first season in Madrid and are excited to see him return to action. 'Los Merengues' know they have a gem in their grasp, one that could be for life. The Real Madrid number 10 only recently turned 24, meaning he still has his best years ahead of him. There is now not long to go until the Colombian can meet his new coach in person and look to build on his impressive CV.