Everton playmaker James Rodriguez has completed a move to Al-Rayyan for an undisclosed fee.
The 30-year-old Colombia international only joined the Premier League club last September and initially proved to be a major hit under old boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Rodriguez scored six goals in 26 appearances for the Toffees’ last season, but Ancelotti’s surprise exit to Real Madrid this summer saw a change in his situation at Goodison Park.
New manager Rafael Benitez told the South American he was not part of his plans and after he travelled to the Middle East at the weekend to finalise a move with the transfer window in the region still open until the end of the month, a permanent switch has now been confirmed.
Speaking after Tuesday’s Carabao Cup loss at QPR, Benitez suggested the player reportedly on £200,000 a week had to leave due to financial reasons.
He said: “Don’t forget, we are talking about a special situation from this club, the financial fair play rules have to manage everything in the best way we can.”
Benitez had expected more information in the coming days following the cup loss in the capital and Rodriguez’s departure brings an unwanted saga to an end.
When summer moves to Porto and Turkish outfit Basaksehir failed to materialise, the former Liverpool boss conceded it may be difficult to offload the club’s highest earner.
But Al-Rayyan will be the next destination for Rodriguez, who has failed to hit the heights achieved at the 2014 World Cup where he won the Golden Boot.
He has represented Porto, Monaco, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Everton in Europe, producing a number of eye-catching displays at the beginning of his tenure in England before his form and the club’s tailed off in the second half of the previous campaign.