James Rodriguez is worried about his lack of game time ahead of this summer’s Copa America and sources have told ESPN the Colombia star is upset about his treatment at the hands of Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.
James, 28, has not featured under Zidane as much as he would have expected since returning from a two-year loan at Bayern Munich, with communication between the two said to be non-existent.
Although Zidane regularly says that he has all the members of his squad available, it is clear that James’s position at Real is not the one desired by the player and that could influence his future in June.
Sources added the player puts in extra training on his own in addition to regular Real Madrid sessions in order to keep his fitness levels high, something which was also confirmed by Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz.
James, whose contract is up in 2021, had the opportunity to leave Real and join Madrid rivals Atletico or switch to Serie A with Napoli last summer, but both moves were blocked by Los Blancos to avoid reinforcing direct rivals and because the club’s hierarchy were confident that Zidane would change his mind about the attacking midfielder.
But that has not been the case, despite James’ attitude and behaviour being described to ESPN by a source as being exemplary since returning from Bayern.
A series of injuries have disrupted his attempts to feature regularly with his last appearance coming against Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey more than a month ago.
Queiroz said that he was concerned by James’s situation in an interview with EFE.
“James’s case worries us, we know he is in a difficult situation at the moment,” he said. “It is very rare, but the entire coaching staff and I are personally determined to help all players and in particular to help James.
“The quality of James is not doubted, like [Santiago] Arias or [Luis] Muriel, so the situation is not easy. That is why we have devised a discreet job with a strength and conditioning coach to support him.”
Colombia face Mexico in a friendly at Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High on May 30 as part of their Copa America preparation.
The Copa America begins on June 12 and will be held in Argentina and Colombia.