Zinedine Zidane says he is “annoyed” about speculation on James Rodriguez’s role at Real Madrid ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Betis in La Liga.
Injuries and a lack of form have affected James’ campaign to date, amidst allegations of an excessive private life, which culminated in his involvement in a high-speed police chase, an alleged bust-up with Zidane and rumours of a transfer to Manchester United.
However, a recent AS poll suggested the majority of its readers wanted the midfielder to replace the injured Gareth Bale, and while the Coach was unwilling to reveal whether the player would start at Benito Villamarin, he made clear his faith in the Colombian.
“James has been very good [in training] this week, like everyone else, and I’m happy with what he’s doing,” he said at a Press conference.
“He’s working very hard and we know how important he is to the team. We’ll see [on Sunday], but he’s ready to play.
“I don’t see him to be worried. He told us that he was feeling calm.
“It’s important for him to get in shape like everyone else.
“The idea is for him to be at his best and prepared for what comes every week. He’s ready to play
“What’s being said about James annoys me, but I’ve cast those rumours aside.
“I’m only interested in what James does here.
“He’s very focused on what he’s doing, and I don’t believe what’s being said outside [of the camp].
“I see him to be committed and focused on what he has to do.
“[On whether he’ll replace Bale], it’s part of my job to make decisions, and [on Sunday] I’ll have to make one.
“[Bale’s injury] gives us a chance to see the other players.”