Zidane: James will get his chance to shine
The ankle problem which is to keep Gareth Bale out of Real Madrid action until 2017 will serve as a chance for James Rodriguez to play a part, according to Zinedine Zidane.
Bale will undergo surgery next Tuesday on his ankle but is unlikely to return for a while, leaving the Colombian to fill his boots.
Zidane urged the playmaker to make the most of the opportunity and warned him he would be unwise to seek a transfer in January due to his lack of playing time so far this season.
"The door is always open to everyone and now James is ready to play," Zidane told reporters. "I don't think it is true that he never plays and I don't agree that he hasn't had chances.
"I do think he should stay at this great club. Sometimes it takes time but it isn't a matter of [his] attitude, I simply have to make decisions.
"He will play and is going to receive minutes. He is a very good player and we all know what he can bring.
"He wants to play more and that's understandable, but for me, he is a major player."
Ahead of Saturday's encounter with Sporting Gijon, Bale was joined on the treatment table by Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao.
The pair are accompanied on the sidelines by Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata as the injury worries continue to increase for the French coach.
"It is complicated," sighed Zidane. "The people who work here do everything possible but sometimes, there are things that you can do nothing about.
"Of course you are upset when you lose a player like Bale but all that we can do is to continue going on our way.
"Zidane also took the opportunity to single out midfielder Mateo Kovacic for specific praise, with the former Inter man coming in from the cold as a result of injuries to impress for the Champions League holders.
"The key has always been to work hard," added Zidane. "He has done that and was always available to us whenever we needed to use him.
"He was simply waiting for his chance. It isn't easy when you aren't playing a lot and in fact, it's quite difficult, but he has come in and played very well for us."