James Rodríguez finds himself in a peculiar situation at Real Madrid.
Having enjoyed a spectacular first year in the Spanish capital, the Colombian star has faded into the shadows on the bench inside the Santiago Bernabéu this season. As Real Madrid chase glory in two different competitions, Zinedine Zidane continues to freeze out James and it's evident that the Frenchman doesn't view the Colombian as a member of his best XI.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed Real Madrid's clash with Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals days ago. With the left side vacant, many assumed that James would receive the nod. However, Zidane chose Lucas Vasquez and used the Spaniard in a more advanced role. Furthermore, when Karim Benzema exited due to injury after 45 minutes, Jesé stepped into midfield and replaced the attacker.
This trend has been growing in Madrid. Since the end of February, James has only featured in 393 minutes of a possible 1,170. Zidane's misuse of the Colombian is alarming considering he's a bonafide Galactico and Real Madrid dished out approximately €80 million for his services. He shined at the World Cup and flourished under Carlo Ancelotti last season. He undeniably possesses an exemplary creative ability and has provided his teammates with eye-opening goals in the past.
With the summer transfer window on the horizon, all parties face a difficult decision. It's expected that Zidane will return next fall and manage Real Madrid for an entire campaign. If James struggles to break into the squad now, before Zidane has a chance to acquire players of his liking in the transfer window, it leaves little hope that the Colombian's situation will change.
It's evident that the Frenchman doesn't fancy James and his decision to leave him on the bench is bold. Florentino Perez paid big money for James and surely wants to see him on the pitch. However, in reality, Perez caused this situation with his revolving door of managers. Ancelotti brought in James, not Zidane.
James obviously seeks regular play time and if Real Madrid can't accommodate, a split would benefit both parties. Los Blancos could recoup the transfer fee allowing Zidane to pursue players on his shortlist while James could feature frequently for a title-contending team abroad.
The situation isn't ideal but if both parties decided to part ways, Real Madrid wouldn't necessarily miss James, on the pitch anyway.