Lucas desperate for James to stay at Real Madrid

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Real Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez is desperate for James Rodriguez to stay at the club beyond the transfer window.

The Colombia international has been heavily linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu after admitting this month that a lack of playing time had forced him to consider his options.

Chelsea are reportedly among the front-runners for his signature, although James' agent, Jorge Mendes, has said he will not leave before the end of the season.

And Lucas hopes that Madrid do indeed decide against a sale, telling the media in Curtis: "He's a very good friend of mine and I hope that he stays. I have a lot of affection for him and he's a really great player."

Another Madrid player linked with a 2017 departure is Pepe, who is reported to have received substantial offers to move to China when his contract expires in June.

Lucas is full of admiration for the 33-year-old's achievements and says he will have the support of his team-mates, regardless of his decision.

"Pepe has had an impeccable career at Real Madrid and in football and whatever he does will be looked on well by us," he said.