James Rodriguez revealed that he had talks with Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone last year but Real Madrid have prevented the transfer from happening.
The Colombian international then joined English Premier League (EPL) side Everton in September after struggling to play under Zinedine Zidane last season.
He was linked with various high -profile teams before stealing the spotlight with a move to Goodison Park which was later revealed as a free transfer.
Atletico were among the teams showing interest in signing James at the time and the 29 -year -old midfielder revealed that he had been barred from joining rivals Madrid.
“It’s almost time for me to join Atletico,” he told ESPN.
“I’ve talked to Simeone, he said I could be an important player but Real didn’t allow it.
“(President) Florentino Perez is aware that I will not play much with Zidane. It has been a bad year and I want to go to Everton to play and prove what I can do,” he said.
James has scored five goals and registered four assists over 18 appearances in the EPL this season.
It puts him on par with Richarlison in second most players involved with goals for Everton this season-behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin (14 goals).
Everton are currently eighth in the EPL and five points behind fourth -placed Chelsea, with a one -match advantage in hand.