Zinedine Zidane Reportedly 'Losing Patience' with James Rodriguez at Real Madrid

The report comes from Alejandro Alcazar in Sport, suggesting Zidane "doesn’t even want to see a painting of James Rodriguez."

In the piece, Alcazar writes the Frenchman has "realised James is not in condition to be an important player at Madrid," and even though every player is getting a fresh start under the new manager, "he’s beginning to feel as though he is fighting a losing battle with James."

According to Pablo Polo of Marca, with the attacking trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo all secured of their places, Zidane will find himself with a straight choice between Isco and Rodriguez. Polo claims the latter will get a chance to impress in the match against Sporting Gijon this weekend.

This season has been a tough one for the Colombia star after shining in his debut term. Here’s a reminder of what a full-tilt Rodriguez can produce:

As noted by Ben Hayward of Goal, although Zidane has only been in charge for one game, he seems to be making decisive choices already in the managerial hot seat:

Rodriguez is the star player most likely under threat at the moment, especially with Alcazar claiming the attacker is currently "above his ideal weight;" his fondness for the Madrid nightlife and fast cars is also noted.

According to Fernando Baquero of Sport, Zidane was shocked by the fitness levels of the Real Madrid players, feeling as though they should be in much better shape at this point of the season. Again, Rodriguez is mentioned, with Baquero claiming he and Toni Kroos are the two players in the least desirable condition.

If Rodriguez is going to force his way into Zidane’s plans on a regular basis, then he must improve his form. While three goals and four assists in 10 La Liga appearances is not a bad return, the languid style in which Rodriguez operates has deteriorated to a slack approach; it was no surprise, therefore, when Isco was thrust into the team.

Aside from basic goals and assists—Isco has one and three, respectively—here’s how Real Madrid’s two creative stars fare in direct statistical comparison this season in La Liga:

Midfielder Comparison: Rodriguez, Isco

 RodriguezIsco
Appearances (Sub)7 (3)10 (4)
Shots per game1.51.5
Dribbles per game0.71.4
Passes per game4634.8
Key passes per game31.7
Passing accuracy87.4 %89.3 %

WhoScored.com

Which player should Zidane be utilising?

Choose an answer
Rodriguez
Isco
Both

It’s such an important position for Real. The likes of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo carry the ball forward, thriving with space to burst into. But the antidote for breaking down well-organised sides is often an intricate midfielder who can find pockets and thread passes, qualities that Rodriguez has in abundance at his best.

Playing for a team like Real and a manager who was the finest attacking midfielder of his generation should be enough to galvanise Rodriguez out of his lull. Otherwise, it’s becoming increasingly apparent, as is the case at the majority of elite sides, a quality deputy will be ready to fill the position.

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