James Rodriguez’s plight at Real Madrid is well documented, the Colombian enduring a difficult period at the Bernabeu.
Tipped for greatness upon his £58 million move to the Spanish capital from Monaco following the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez has struggled to make his mark alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and co. and now finds himself out of favour.
His fall down the pecking order has sparked speculation as to why he’s afforded so little faith and whether he could leave this summer.
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Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama recently made the bold claim that manager Zinedine Zidane doesn’t like his countryman.
“Even if he (Rodriguez) scores three, four or five goals, Zidane won’t put him on,” he said, per the Daily Mail.
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“James is a player he does not like.”
What’s certain is Rodriguez’s future is in doubt, with a host of European sides reportedly interested in signing him.
Spanish pundit Guillem Balague has shed some light on the 24-year-old’s situation at the Bernabeu - he believes Real will listen to offers this summer.
He said during a live Q&A on Twitter, per Sky Sports: “Basically, Real will be willing to sell him.
“Zidane has lost faith in him, Florentino Perez has lost faith in him, but they want to recover some of the money they spent on him.”
Balague puts Rodriguez’s fall from grace down to his weak mentality.
“Mentally, he is not strong,” he continued. “He found himself on the bench, or rotated by Rafa Benitez, and instead of fighting for his place quietly he took opportunities in the press to subtly criticise Benitez.
“His agent, Jorge Menges, put a lot of stories in the press to put pressure on Rafa.
“But Zidane, who has come in with even more authority, did the same thing, and James has not been able to fight his position.
“There is too much dragging of the feet and moaning for my liking, and it looks like for Zidane as well.
“He has quality, no doubt, but in this team you need to have much more than quality.”
The Spaniard also shared a quick word on Toni Kroos’ future, with Manchester United reportedly set to renew interest in him this summer.
“Kroos decided early this season that this could be his last year. He’s willing to listen to offers,” he added.
Injuries have hindered Rodriguez’s progress at the Bernabeu yet even when fit, he’s been used sparingly. Twenty-three La Liga appearances this season, eight of which from bench, is evidence of just how frozen out he is under Zidane.
He has scored and assisted seven goals in the league, though - a respectable record given how little he’s featured.