All James needs is affection - Roberto Carlos

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James Rodriguez just needs a little affection in order to start proving his class at Real Madrid, according to club legend Roberto Carlos.

The Colombia international has often been on the periphery for Zinedine Zidane's side this season and spoke this month of his desire for more playing time.

For his part, the French coach publicly spoke of James' importance to the team, but the demanding Santiago Bernabeu faithful have at times shown their impatience at his ailing form.

However, Roberto Carlos, who won four LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues in more than a decade at Madrid, jumped to the 25-year-old's defence.

"If James was as bad as some people say, he wouldn't be the Colombia captain," said Roberto Carlos, speaking at an event organised by Mahou. "People can discuss about what he does, but he's playing for the best team in the world.

"He needs affection, I needed it for a time. He has to think about what he can improve.

"He has to trust on himself, he's a phenomenon. Sometimes Zidane needs him, sometimes he needs Isco. It's his decision. What I see in training is that he's doing very well."