JAMES RODRIGUEZ may have played his final Real Madrid game after he missed training ahead of Celta Vigo clash – as his Manchester United move nears.
But Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane claimed the Colombian playmaker was just injured to explain his absence and that he is staying at the Bernabeu.
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Cristiano Ronaldo and co got on without him at their training base today ahead of the Celta clash in Vigo tomorrow night, a game in hand which can see them pull ahead of leaders Barcelona.
It is a must-win match, but Rodriguez has fallen down the pecking order having moved to Madrid in 2014 after shining at the World Cup that summer in Brazil.
He won the Golden Boot at the tournament, but since Zidane took over has found playing time hard to come by.
Zidane himself was all smiles as he watched his men being put through their paces at the Valdebas sports city – and was tight-lipped on Rodriguez when asked in the pre-match press conference.
He said: “James is here, that’s not up for question. He’s with us.
“He didn’t train [on Tuesday] because he has a knock and a heavy blow – but James is here and we’re thinking just about the three games we have left this year.”
It has been claimed that the much mooted transfer to Manchester United is edging ever closer, and could even be announced this coming weekend.
Los Blancos’has hinted regularly he would prefer first team football at a big club — but preferably one in the Champions League – so United’s Europa League final against Ajax next week is crucial as they would qualify if they won.
Despite signing the midfielder from Monaco for more than £70m Zidane and Real are reportedly happy to offload him for far less, around £50m.
Ronaldo trained today having missed the last four away La Liga games – but Zidane confirmed the Portuguese superstar will take part in Vigo.
Zidane implemented a rotation policy recently to keep his star players fit for the Champions League where they have reached the final – and the La Liga title race.
But if Ronaldo is booked at Balaidos, he will be suspended for the final match of the domestic season at Malaga – as will Isco and Lucas Vazquez.