James Rodriguez’s role in remarkable Calvert-Lewin/Cristiano Ronaldo stat

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin can’t stop scoring goals for Everton. With just five appearances so far in 2020-21, he’s already notched eight times, including two hat-tricks in back-to-back games at Goodison Park. 

Having scored three in the Toffees’ 5-2 victory over West Brom in the Premier League, Calvert-Lewin added another trio of strikes in their 4-1 Carabao Cup victory over West Ham last night.

Ever-reliable in the stats department, Twitter must-follow @RichJolly picked out another gem: the 23-year-old is the first player to score hat-tricks in consecutive home games under Carlo Ancelotti since Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid, back in 2014. The one player that featured in all four matches? James Rodriguez.

Cast your mind back six years ago. Life was fun, the 2014 World Cup was brilliant, you were allowed to attend football matches, there was no creeping sense of impending doom. Hand sanitiser and a face covering before heading out to the shops weren’t even necessary.

Rodriguez, then 23, had exploded onto the world stage by lighting up the World Cup for Colombia, earning a move to the Bernabeu as Florentino Perez’s latest Galactico and continued where he left off in Brazil, dazzling in the Spanish capital right away, just as he immediately has in Merseyside.

Ancelotti’s Madrid looked unstoppable at the start of that season, winning both the Spanish and UEFA Super Cups to kick things off, regularly steamrolling opposition.

Ronaldo, even by his standards, was in stellar goalscoring form, scoring in 13 consecutive appearances for club and country from August to October. By Christmas, he’d scored 34 goals.

The Portugal international went from scoring three in an 8-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna in September to back-to-back hat-tricks at the Bernabeu, with four in a 5-1 win over Elche and another three in a 5-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

The crazy thing is that somehow, a Rodriguez at his very creative best during both spells, didn’t have a hand in any of Calvert-Lewin and Ronaldo’s combined 13 goals across the four matches.

But he was just another thing for opposition defences to worry about, setting up a Gareth Bale equaliser against Elche, getting on the scoresheet with a spectacular effort against West Brom, and teeing up Richarlison in last night’s win over West Ham.

Across the four games, Rodriguez created 14 chances – seven for Everton, seven for Los Blancos.

The very fact that there are some parallels to be drawn between Ancelotti’s Real Madrid and his Everton is a statement in itself. Any side that’s getting Rodriguez enjoying his football and a forward scoring hat-tricks on the regular is one to take seriously.

And when was the last time you could say that about Everton?


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