Real manager Zinedine Zidane recently spoke about Colombian play-maker James Rodriguez’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu.
James’ career was at its zenith in 2014, when he stole the spotlight at the World Cup in Brazil with 5 goals in 4 games for Colombia, after which he completed a move to the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos payed Ligue 1 side AS Monaco €80 million for the Colombian trequartista. His debut season with Real under Carlo Ancelotti was a success, as he made 42 appearances for the club and scored 17 goals.
However, a change in manager brought about a change in James’ fortunes. Rodriguez was relegated to the bench by Ancelotti’s successor Rafa Benitez. His fate remained the same even after Benitez was sacked mid-way through the season and Zinedine Zidane was appointed as his successor. The Frenchman preferred a midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro, keeping the likes of James and Isco on the bench.
At the end of the season, Rodriguez had made just 8 La Liga starts for Los Blancos, with 9 of his other appearances coming off the bench. He still managed to put up a show as he scored 7 goals and provided 8 assists.
Zidane has now thrown the Colombian’s future under further speculation, stating that he didn’t consider him a starting player.
“The idea with James is the same as with everyone else – he’s a Real Madrid player,” said Zizou, according to the Independent.
“I’m not going to tell you that James is a starter. He’s an important player. We’ll see what happens this year, I have a big squad and it’s complicated.”
Manchester United have long been linked with the Colombian play-maker and the Red Devils are considered to be the favourites to land him. James has also been linked to Arsenal and PSG, with the Parisians also strong contenders for the attacking midfielder’s signature. There could be an added dimension to his transfer as Chelsea want him in exchange for their Belgian star Eden Hazard.
However, Real would be looking to recover the transfer fee they paid for him in 2014, while the player is still at his peak and wanted by a number of the top clubs in Europe. Manchester United’s recent signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund might mean that their interest has cooled off, leaving the door open for PSG to snap up the player.