Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admits James Rodriguez’s lack of playing time is “a problem” but maintains that he is trying to make all of his players feel important.
Colombia international Rodriguez, who made only 21 starts for the club in all competitions last season, came on as a substitute and played just 13 minutes in Real’s 3-0 triumph at Real Sociedad in their La Liga opener last Sunday.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s league game against Celta Vigo, his team’s first official fixture at the Bernabeu this season, Zidane said in a news conference: “James is a Real Madrid player. When I answer these questions, it feels as though I want him to leave.
“But he is a Real player and he is under contract. It’s true that he has played less minutes and that can be a problem. I always try to make every player feel important. James is the same as the others.”
The 21-year-old attacker is under contract with Real until June 2020 and is a reported target of Premier League clubs Chelsea and Arsenal and Italian champions Juventus.
“I haven’t spoken to James lately, nor with any other player in particular,” Zidane said. “I just speak to the group.”
While Zidane insisted Real will not make further signings in the transfer window, he has not ruled out departures.
“Anything can happen until Aug. 31,” the Frenchman said. “But no one will come, that’s certain, but someone could leave.
“I’m happy with what I have. We have a big enough roster and the season is long and arduous.”
Zidane expects his side to maintain their impressive form.
Real beat Sevilla 3-2 in the European Super Cup and then won 3-0 at Real Sociedad in their La Liga opener.
“We are all enthusiastic about our first game at home this season,” Zidane said. “We started the league well in San Sebastian against La Real and now we have very strong rivals at home.
“We are ready for tomorrow’s game. We will have our fans turning up and that is always important for us.”