Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez has claimed his knee injury from last season “is well behind him” after scoring his first goal of 2015-16.
In his second start of the International Champions Cup, Jese scored the opener for Rafa Benitez’s men against Inter in China on Monday.
The 22-year-old started as the central striker at Tianhe Stadium, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco providing support, and Jese showed a classic poacher’s instinct as he brought down Marcelo’s cross in the box in the 29th minute before cutting inside a defender to score.
Having missed the first half of the 2014-15 La Liga season with a ruptured cruciate ligament, Jese declared he is ready to start the new campaign in top gear.
“Coming back midway through last season as I had to do and not play, then play was far more complicated,” he said.
“I feel better. The injury is well behind me and I feel great.”
Having only started three La Liga matches last term, Jese has been linked with a move to the Premier League this close-season, but the Real youth product insisted he never entertained leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I’ve never wanted to leave,” he said.
“I’m very grateful to the coach for counting on me. He’s shown he has faith in me. I’ll try to make the most of every opportunity I get.”
Benitez’s decision to start Jese ahead of Karim Benzema in two of three close-season friendlies so far has only strengthened speculation that the latter will depart for Arsenal.
While Jese has generally played on the left under previous coaches, he is enjoying the new challenge of leading the line.
“I don’t mind where I play. I like all attacking positions so I can adapt easily,” Jese said.
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