Zinedine Zidane has admitted that the media criticism of James Rodriguez “bothers” him ahead of Real Madrid’s match against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
The Colombian has failed to live up to the heights he set last season, with his off-field demeanours the focus of the Press’ coverage concerning him, but his Coach believes he deserves more respect as he made it clear he was “committed” to Los Blancos.
“I think that [the media] has been a bit unfair to James,” he said at a Press conference.
“Still, the players also know that when they play well, they say nice things.
“It bothers me when they speak ill of James because he’s my player. James is committed.
“[On the Zidanes and Pavones policy between 2000 and 2006], those who played were ready [for the first team].
“I don’t like Zidanes and Pavones because, for me, everyone in the dressing room is equal.
“[On Gareth Bale returning], it’s a relief for everyone. We’ll see how he does with Wales, but the most important thing is Madrid and that we go step by step with him.
“[On Alvaro Arbeloa] all the players are important to me and I’m not happy because Arbeloa hasn’t played, but he’ll get minutes under his belt tomorrow.
“It’s not because he hasn’t been in the team, but rather he is an important player and helps us a lot. He’s very professional and fully involved
“[Luka] Modric won’t be in the squad, but Marcelo yes. [Toni] Kroos won’t play because he has the flu and a fever.
“[On Casemiro], I met him for the first time with Carlo [Ancelotti] and [Ancelotti and I] always felt he was good enough.
“He started as a substitute with me, not playing much, but now he is.
“He is technically good and plays lots of personality. To have both of those things means you can play for Madrid.
“[On rotating ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Roma], we’ll play the best team we have available.
“I’m not looking to Tuesday, the most important thing is Celta.
“Equally, we’ll look a little different to how we lined up against Levante.”