Rodriguez important for Real Madrid: Coach Zidane

Madrid, April 23 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said although forward James Rodriguez was a substitute in key matches during the final stretch of the season, he thinks “he’s OK”, stressing the importance of the Colombian footballer.

“I think he’s OK, he’s an important player. When you have 23 players, you have to make a decision about the starting 11 and then make changes. James is important and he scored in the games he played and did very well. I’m aware he wants to play more, but so does everyone who plays less often,” he said on Friday, reports Efe.

Rodriguez will start against Rayo Vallecano in a La Liga match on Saturday. ZIdane expects a tough match, adding his players will have to think not only about La Liga but also the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City.

“It’s a difficult game, on a small pitch. We’re up against a team who know how to play, who like to play, and put you under a lot of pressure at home. We know what it’s like and it’s going to be another very difficult game, especially early on,” said the Frenchman.

He added Madrid still has a chance to win La Liga, despite being in the third place bu just a point behind toppers FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who both have the same number of points. Barcelona are on top on superior goal difference.

“There are four games and we know what we have to do to have any chance. We will try and win our four remaining games to give ourselves that hope.”

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