Football

Rodriguez in limbo

Zidane admits Colombian's lack of playing time could be a problem

REAL MADRID v CELTA VIGO

(Tomorrow, 2.10am, StarHub TV Ch 213)

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has opened the door to out-of-favour midfielder James Rodriguez leaving the club by admitting the player's lack of appearances could become a problem.

The Colombia international joined Real in 2014 for a reported 80 million euros ($122 million), after earning the Golden Boot at the World Cup with six goals in five games.

After a successful first season in Spain, he has failed to hold down a regular place since Zidane took charge in January. Rodriguez was excluded from the starting line-up in the European Super Cup win over Sevilla and last week's 3-0 La Liga victory at Real Sociedad.

Spanish sports newspaper AS reported yesterday that Rodriguez will seek a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu if he does not start against Celta Vigo tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"James is a Real Madrid player and he has a contract with us, but it's true that he has played less than others and that could prove a problem," Zidane said.

"I always try to make my players feel important and James is no different than the rest.

"Anything could happen between now and Aug 31 (when the transfer window closes)," Zidane added.

"I'm sure no one else is going to arrive, but players could leave. I have a squad now and I'm happy with it and some players are going to return (from injury)."

NO RONALDO

Real produced a dominant performance last week at Sociedad without goalkeeper Keylor Navas, midfielder Luka Modric and forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Modric is free to play against Celta after completing a suspension but the other three remain out injured.

Midfielder Isco suffered an ankle problem in training and will also miss the game.

"The performance at Real Sociedad is the way to go and now we're facing another difficult team who know how to play good football," added Zidane.

"But this is our first home game and with our fans behind us, we'll try and get the three points." - Reuters.


FIXTURES*

TOMORROW

  • 12.10am: Osasuna v Real Sociedad
  • 12.15am: Eibar v Valencia (StarHub TV Ch 112/ 205 & 76.25MHz)
  • 2.10am: Real Madrid v Celta Vigo
  • 4.10am: Leganes v Atletico Madrid

MONDAY

  • 12.10am: Las Palmas v Granada
  • 2.10am: Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona
  • 4.10am: Villarreal v Sevilla

*All games on StarHub TV Ch 213 unless stated.

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