Zi­dane ex­pects James to re­main at Real Madrid

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

REAL MADRID boss Zine­dine Zi­dane closed the exit door on Colom­bian play­maker James Ro­driguez de­spite leav­ing the 2014 World Cup’s top scorer on the bench once more for Real’s 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on Satur­day.

Ro­driguez has fallen down the peck­ing or­der at the Bern­abeu since Zi­dane took charge in Jan­uary with Madrid’s lat­est sen­sa­tion Marco Asen­sio join­ing the likes of Isco, Toni Kroos and Luka Mo­dric ahead of him for a place in Real’s con­gested mid­field.

How­ever, Zi­dane in­sisted Ro­driguez will re­main in the Span­ish cap­i­tal be­yond the trans­fer dead­line on Wed­nes­day with even the Pre­mier League’s cash-rich clubs un­likely to match the re­ported €80 mil­lion Real paid for him af­ter the World Cup two years ago.

Ro­driguez only came on for the fi­nal 21 min­utes as Kroos’s fine long-range ef­fort 10 min­utes from time sal­vaged all three points for the hosts de­spite the ab­sence of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Karim Ben­zema from Zi­dane’s start­ing line-up through in­jury.

“I thought James played well. It is not easy to come and have to make the dif­fer­ence,” said Zi­dane. “He is go­ing to stay here.” Kroos’s strike main­tained Madrid’s 14-match win­ning run in La Liga, but vic­tory dis­guised a sub­stan­dard Real dis­play.

With­out Ron­aldo and Ben­zema, Gareth Bale failed to build on his fine start to the cam­paign with two goals in a 3-0 win at Real So­ciedad to start the sea­son.

How­ever, Zi­dane high­lighted the need to win even with­out shin­ing, par­tic­u­larly with a two-week in­ter­na­tional break to come.

“It is true that we didn’t shine. In some game we can’t play as we want,” said Zi­dane.

“We can im­prove, but I feel calm with how we have started the sea­son. Two league games won and an­other of­fi­cial game (Uefa Su­per Cup) won.

“Now there are the in­ter­na­tional games and many play­ers will leave, but that is some­thing we can’t change.”

And Zi­dane hailed his play­ers’ be­lief to keep go­ing un­til the end de­spite be­ing far from their best.

“I am left with the fact the play­ers be­lieved un­til the end and we achieved what we wanted.”

Span­ish in­ter­na­tional Lu­cas Vazquez started along­side Ro­driguez on the bench and was in­tro­duced be­fore his team­mate in search of a win­ner.

And Vazquez was less com­pre­hen­sive than his coach when ques­tioned whether Ro­driguez had played his last game in the white shirt.

“I don’t think it was his last game, but we have to wait and see what hap­pens.” — Reuters

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