Are Zinedine Zidane and James Rodriguez tired of each other? That’s the resonating question after the lineup was released for tonight’s La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves.
Zidane’s 22-man squad for tonight’s clash does not include the Colombian golden boy. James has not been reported to be injured, and his exclusion comes at the heels of a report that said he was not called up for the previous game against Athletic Bilbao because “he didn’t want to.” In short, this is the second match in a row where he has been left out for no apparent reason.
James was left out of the squad even though Zidane has only named 22 players and he is allowed to pick 23. Real Madrid has a shortage of available players at the moment, given that captain Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are both suspended. Marcelo and Nacho are both unavailable due to injuries, while Serbian striker Luka Jovic is in forced isolation after a COVID-19 scare. He is being kept in quarantine as a precaution, after he came into contact with a friend who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Zidane is lucky to have Vinicius Junior available, after the young Brazilian was put in doubt due to a failed COVID-19 test. His routine test returned neither a negative nor a positive result, and he was asked to train separately from the team as a precaution. Luckily, Marca reports that a subsequent test confirmed a negative result in time for the match.
With such a shortage of available players, it’s an even more glaring omission. James is only 28 years old, and his return to Madrid after a 2-year loan at Bayern Munich is proving to be worse than his first stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.
For him to be left out in the crucial make-or-break final stretch of the season speaks a lot about Zidane’s confidence in him. Real Madrid is currently leading FC Barcelona by only one point, with the potential of extending the lead to four points with a victory this evening. It remains to be seen if Florentino Perez will be selling the Colombian when the next transfer window comes around. For now, it seems to be looking that way.