Zidane assures James he is 'important' to Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane acknowledged James Rodriguez's public plea for more playing time and reassured the Colombian that he is still considered an "important player" at Real Madrid.

James was quoted on Friday as being frustrated with his lack of football at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the former Monaco star playing only four times in LaLiga this term.

Just two of those appearances were from the start and he was quick to suggest that he deserved more first-team action.

Zidane affirmed that he would like to see James play more regularly, too, though he made no assurances ahead of Sunday's visit of Leganes.

"It's not a special situation," said Zidane. "Each player is special in one way. What I try and do is show the group that they are all as important as each other. 

"At the moment, to answer you, yes James does have less playing time than others, but he's an important player for us - he helps us.

"I know he wants to play more games, of course. I try and make a team for each game and nothing is going to change [in that respect].

"All I can tell you is that he's important for us, like all players are. Everyone's free to have their opinion.

"I've nothing else to say other than he's an important player and I want him to stay here and I hope he will play more games."

Madrid sit top of the table and remain unbeaten in all competitions this season.