Carlo Ancelotti addresses rumors linking James Rodriguez to Everton.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he is an admirer of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, amid rumors linking the Colombia international with a move to Goodison Park.

Rodriguez has featured just eight times in La Liga this season after an injury-ravaged campaign, and has played just once since the Spanish top flight resumed in June.

Everton were recently reported to be one of four Premier League sides in the race to land the 28-year-old on the cheap this summer as Carlo Ancelotti prepares for his first full season in charge at the Goodison. .

Ancelotti has already signed Rodriguez twice / AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Ancelotti was the man who brought Rodriguez back to Real in 2014, before the playmaker joined him at Bayern Munich in 2017.

The Everton boss admitted he was a fan of Rodriguez, but remained tight-lipped on whether there was any truth to the rumors linking him to the club.

“James Rodriguez? I like him a lot as a player,” Ancelotti said [via the Guardian]. “When I left Madrid, James Rodriguez followed me to Munich. But he followed me to Napoli as a rumor and now he is following me to Everton as a rumour.

Rodriguez has played just once for Real since October/Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

“I have to be honest – I like him a lot. But he is a Real Madrid player and I think he will still be a Real Madrid player.”

Everton have already agreed a pay freeze with players and staff due to the financial implications of the coronavirus outbreak, but Ancelotti insists he will be funded to strengthen his side ahead of next season.

“I have been assured by the board that we are going to improve the squad,” the Toffees manager added. “We need good players and the players we are going to sign will be good players.

“It doesn’t matter if they are young or old; with experience or without experience. It is important to have good players.”

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