James Rodriguez’s wife Daniela Ospina has played down any problems between her husband and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, saying that the frustration he feels when not picked is “personal,” not aimed at his boss.
James joined Madrid for €80 million after starring at the 2014 World Cup, but has rarely been an automatic first choice over the last 18 months, and last December spoke publicly about the possibility of moving elsewhere to get more playing time.
However after starting last week’s 3-1 Champions League round-of-16 first leg win over Napoli, he said that after speaking with Zidane about his situation he hoped to stay at the Bernabeu “for many more years.”
Volleyball senior international Ospina told W Radio Colombia that James was aware of the competition for places in the star-studded Madrid squad, although it still hurt to be left out.
“It is an internal issue, I believe it is bad that there is talk about his relationship with his coach,” she said. “That sells papers, generates excitement, but all coaches must choose 11 players and that’s not easy with a squad like Real Madrid’s.
“James must keep working hard, battling and showing all the talent he has. For him it is not easy to be on the bench. He is very competitive and always wants to play. But it is more a personal frustration than something directed at the coach.”
Ospina said that her husband was aware that for any player it was a “dream” to be alongside superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at Madrid.
“James is very focused and very secure in what he has,” she said. “It’s true that things are different in Colombia, but to be at Madrid with the big stars is the dream of every player. He is thinking about working hard, improving and playing well. He has all the talent in the world.”
Over the last 12 months James has been regularly linked with Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, while there have been reports that Madrid president Florentino Perez had accepted an €85 million bid from Inter Milan last summer only for the player himself to turn down the move.
Speculation over future transfers was not a problem when you were secure in your own situation, Ospina said.
“We try and stay away from it all and he thinks about the positive side, and what he can improve,” she said. “It is easier to accept rumours when you are adapted to where you are.”