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James impact earns Zidane´s praise

Zinedine Zidane singled out James Rodriguez for praise after Real Madrid battled to a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo.

Madrid’s 14th consecutive LaLiga win came courtesy of Toni Kroos’ strike nine minutes from time after Fabian Orellana had levelled Alvaro Morata’s opener.

James has been heavily linked with an exit after being left out of Zidane’s starting XI for all three of the club’s games to start the new season, following a 2015-16 campaign that saw him restricted to only 17 league starts.

But Zidane liked what he saw from the Colombia international after he came off the substitutes’ bench with 21 minutes remaining on Saturday when the match was still level at 1-1.

“I have seen good things from James and, as you say, yes he will be staying,” Zidane told reporters after the playmaker’s cameo saw him have a penalty appeal turned down and force a late save from Sergio Alvarez.

“It is not easy when you enter a game and you have to make a difference. He and Lucas [Vazquez] improved the team. He took his chance and the substitutions added something extra for us.

“We can do better, but I wanted us to believe until the end as that is what matters and we accomplished it to get the three points.

“It is true that in some of the matches we have not played as we wanted but I am very pleased with how we have started the season – two wins in the league and one in the [UEFA] Super Cup.

“There are no easy games, Celta were good going forward and both teams struggled with the heat, so I was pleased with the players’ attitude.”

Sat 27 Aug, 2016
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