In 2015/2016 season, James Rodriguez was left on the bench in the season opener against Sporting Gijon.
He made his first season contribution by giving a Man of the match performance against Real Betis. The player scored a spectacular freekick and a majestic overhead kick.
On September 2015, the Colombian collided with Peruvian Manuel Vargas during a friendly match against Peru which led him to be sidelined for over a month.
He was a part-time starter for the Real Madrid side that won the 2015-2016 UEFA Champions League.
In 2016/2017 season, James made 22 appearance when Real Madrid won the 2016 League title and made just six appearances in Real Madrid’s run to another Champions League title.
Despite Madrid’s dominance in Spain and Europe, James had played a total of 1,824 minutes , something he was clearly not happy with. His 11 goals and 13 assists were not enough to gain more game time under Zidane, leading him to request a loan transfer.
On 11 July 2017, James. Completed a two year loan switch to Bayern Munich. With James‘ loan deal to Bayern, he reunited with his old Real Madrid Manager Carlo Ancelotti.Bayern Munich had the option to make James‘ loan deal permanent by paying €42 million.
James had a slow start to his Bayern career mainly due to an injury he sustained in preseason, James rediscovered his form after Jupp. Heynckes was hired as Bayern’s Manager in october 2017 as the club sacked Ancelotti.
On 2 April 2018, Bayern’s CEO, thanked Ancelotti for luring James to Bayern. James went on to win the 2017/208 Bundesliga title, credited as a key member of their title defense for his contribution of 7 goals and 11 assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances.
On 18 May 2019, James won his second Bundesliga title and his first DFB-Pok came a week later. He made 28 appearances and scored 7 goals in all competitions.
On 5 June, it was announced that Bayern Munich would not pick up the buy option and he would return to parent club, Real Madrid.
James‘ return to Madrid with Zidane at the helm has been a thug of war. The Colombian was close to an exit last summer but Real Madrid’s reluctance to sell to neighbors and rivals, Athletico, meant he’s had to endure another season.
At the beginning of the season, he had a handful of chances to claim a starting spot but Zidane‘s preference for Brazilian duo; Vinicius and Rodrygo meant James‘ game time was going to suffer.
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On thursday, he found his name missing again in the squad list for Real Madrid’s Friday game against Alaves.
Its hard to think that a player of his quality, still only 28 years old, doesn’t have enough to start for an elite team. His deadly left foot and vision places him amongst the game’s very best.
One could rightly argue that James deserves a chance at Real Madrid. But given Zidane’s frosty relationship with him, it’s probably best he sought relevance elsewhere.
Whether Zidane‘s constant reluctance to give him quality game time is personal or professional, one would never know. But for James Rodriguez; a player that has missed important games this season even when fit, it’s definitely the beginning of the end for his Real Madrid career.