Rafa Benitez insists there is no problem with James Rodriguez and confirms Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Cadiz.
Press reports from Spain and Colombia had suggested James was unhappy with life under Bentiez but the trainer insisted that isn’t the case when speaking to the Press.
“When we analyse it, we can’t forget this is a player who has been injured for 55 days. There’s no problem. He’s a great player,” AS quotes Benitez as saying.
“The more James trains and plays the closer he’ll be to the James we all want to see. He has my full support and confidence.
“This is Real Madrid, where competition is at the maximum. Everyone who played against Eibar did well, at a very complicated ground.
“I’m delighted when any of my players does well, whether it’s James, Isco, Cristiano, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale…
“I’ve talked to James and the situation is clear. I want to see the best James in every game, scoring a lot of goals.”
Benitez added little regarding Ronaldo, only referencing the Portuguese further when the topic of the Ballon d’Or and Ronaldo’s work load was raised.
“I support Cristiano [for the Ballon d’Or],” Benitez confirmed.
“There’ll be rotations tomorrow. Marcelo won’t play. He’s in the final stages of recovery. He’s kicking the ball. There’s a lot of time until January and we have players for his position.
“Benzema? I consider him a great player and a great colleague. On a personal level he’s a sensational guy and has our support.
“He’s fundamental in attack. He makes the players around him better. We support him as a person and I’m happy with him as a player.
“Benzema is coming from a long period of inactivity and the minutes should be dispensed carefully. He’s very important to us.”
Benitez was asked about stocking the side with younger players and confirmed he would include a handful, and explained why he wants to win the Copa del Rey.
“There will be Castilla players. Martin Odegaard could be in future squads but in principle won’t be in this one,” he noted.
“Madrid have to try to win every competition they play. We have to approach the competition with the same intensity as every other.
“I’ve seen some footage of Cadiz and my assistants have worked to give me as much information as possible. It will be difficult, because every team gives 100% against Madrid.
“These are the games that, until they’re played, cause concern for Coaches.”