Zidane unsure if James will play for Real Madrid again

By Sports Desk July 10, 2020

Zinedine Zidane is unsure if James Rodriguez will play for Real Madrid ever again.

James, 28, has been linked with a move away from Madrid and was left out of the squad for Friday's 2-0 LaLiga win over Deportivo Alaves.

It marked the second straight game in which the Colombia international has not been in the squad.

Asked if James would play for Madrid again, Zidane told a news conference: "I don't know."

James arrived at Madrid from Monaco in 2014, but spent the previous two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich.

He has played just 14 games this campaign, scoring one goal.

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    Torres and his sister Arantxa have a tattoo in common. "An anchor. It was a reminder for us not to let ourselves be sunk by anything or anyone," she told OTRO last year.

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    THE EXPLOSION

    Despite only being 20, 2019-20 was Torres' third season in the Valencia first-team squad and he already has 71 LaLiga appearances to his name – 26 of which were as a starter in the campaign just finished.

    He had only played 12 times for Valencia's B team in the third tier before Marcelino Garcia Toral promoted him permanently to the senior side in December 2017, his LaLiga debut as the fifth-youngest player in the club's history a rare ray of sunlight as he came off the bench in the rain during a 2-1 defeat at Eibar.

    "All of us within the club were sure that we were looking at a very high-level footballer," Marcelino told Panenka magazine. "It was only a matter of time before he exploded, because it was clear this player had to play. He still has a significant margin for improvement, but along with [Martin] Odegaard, for me, he is one of the revelations of the season."

    His form for Spain Under-19s during last year's European Championship further highlighted his potential as he scored both goals in the 2-0 final win over Portugal to earn a spot in the Team of the Tournament.

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    NOT THE FINISHED ARTICLE

    There's no doubting the ability Torres has to excite – after all, only five midfielders in LaLiga attempted more dribbles in 2019-20 than his 112, and when in full-flight, his combination of pace and upper-body strength make the leggy winger a formidable weapon.

    Similarly, Torres is nimble and very agile, capable of jinking out of situations that appear one-sided in the defence's favour.

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    His record of 25 opportunities crafted this term is not particularly great and is way behind Lionel Messi (89), Sergio Canales (80) and Jose Campana (73) out in front in LaLiga.

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    The greater awareness he requires should come with experience. After all, it would be a bigger problem if he was struggling to ever find dangerous positions, and that simply is not the case.

    He has touched the ball more times (64) in the opposing area than any of his midfield team-mates in 2019-20.

    And while nine goal involvements (four goals, five assists) may not sound remarkable, that is only one fewer than Martin Odegaard – a standout performer until his injury – and no one with more than nine is younger than Torres.

    He may need a little time to settle in the Premier League, but the potential is undoubtedly there and he shouldn't be plagued with suggestions of being too small, like David Silva was when he made the same move 10 years ago.

    Whether Torres can have a similar impact to Silva is another matter, but the 34-year-old's success at least sets a strong precedent for talented Valencia-developed technicians leaving their mark at City.

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