23 february 2017, Updated 05:45h

No focus

Zidane already losing patience with James Rodriguez

The same problems Benitez had with the Colombian are already evident

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Alejandro Alcazar | 14.1.2016 | 12:31h.

Zinedine Zidane doesn’t even want to see a painting of James Rodriguez. At least until the Colombian radically changes his attitude and integrates into the dynamic and the discipline of the team like the rest of his colleagues. 

When the Frenchman took charge at Real Madrid, he wasn’t sure whether to pick James or Isco to accompany Modric and Kroos in the middle of the pitch. But within 10 days, he’s already realised James is not in condition to be an important player at Madrid. Isco started Zidane’s first game, while James came off the bench with the result already decided. 

Zidane wanted to give the same opportunities to all players, but while he’s happy with Isco’s attitude and work, he’s beginning to feel as though he is fighting a losing battle with James. 

The South American is completely out of form and above his ideal weight. He doesn’t seem focused. Even in training he seems to have little appetite for work. 

These were some of the reasons Rafael Benitez decided to leave him out, despite the fans wanting him to play. They still see James as the player he was last season - not as this dis-interested player on a massive salary. 

It seems his love of Madrid’s nightlife, fast cars and a life of luxury are affecting his performances. Only recently he was caught speeding into Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground at over 200km/h by the police. 

For now, Zidane has taken the decision to hand him a plan to help him get back into his best physical shape. Until then - and until there’s a change - he’s likely to continue playing a secondary role.