• Zinedine Zidane insists he does not disregard any player in Real Madrid
  • Zidane says James Rodriguez is an important player amidst spat issues
  • James could miss Real Madrid's last three La Liga games this season

Zinedine Zidane is insisting that he does not discount any of his players amidst concerns about James Rodriguez’s dispirited state at Real Madrid. The 48-year-old manager bared his sentiments after James was left out of his rotation anew, raising questions about the Colombian’s future at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Despite the apparent friction in their relationship, Zidane still heaped praises on the James, who just turned 29 on Sunday. In his statement, the French icon stressed that James remains part of the team and that the playmaker is just as important as the rest of his players.

"James is an important player, he's always shown it," Zidane said in a news conference, via ESPN. "It's his birthday so the first thing is to congratulate him.

"He's a member of the squad. It's true there are players who play more or less, but I won't disregard any player, they're all important. You'll see if he travels to Granada, but I'm counting on all the players I have.”

In a previous report, Zidane admitted that he is uncertain whether James will play for the Spanish capital again after the latter missed out on the club’s last two matches. Notably, Zidane claimed that James "wanted to be left out for his own reasons” when the Colombia international went absent during Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on July 5.

James has started just five games this season – an occurrence that the playmaker himself is puzzled about as well.

"It's a good question, I'd like to know too," James told Gol Caracol, via ESPN, when asked about the matter last month. "It's complicated when your coach doesn't give you minutes. It's hard to show what you can do... I'm not one of the key players, that's clear."

James left Monaco and joined the Merengues after signing a deal worth about $85 million in 2014. Three years into his impressive start at the Spanish club, he was sent to Bayern Munich via loan for two seasons. The deal, however, did not quite turn out well as he found himself stuck deep in Zidane’s rotation upon his return in 2019.

James is “unlikely to feature” as Real Madrid plays its last three La Liga matches of the season in seven days with another title close within reach.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are seeking their third straight Champions League title. In this picture, Zidane, manager of Real Madrid, looks on during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, April 25, 2018. Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images