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James Rodriguez returns to Real Madrid training

Date Added: February 03, 2017 08:48:14 PM
Author: David
Category: Teams: UEFA: Spain: Real Madrid

Real Madrid are going through a mini crisis at the moment, having won only two of their last six games. It’s been a difficult January for them. First, their club-record of a 40-game unbeaten run was ended by Sevilla, which was further followed by their elimination from the Copa del Rey at the quarterfinal stage.

Despite the slump in form, the reigning European champions are still comfortably positioned at the top of the league. They are leading by four points ahead of Barcelona and Sevilla, having played a game less. Madrid arrested their mini decline with a convincing 3-0 win over Real Sociedad last Sunday.

Their next opponent is Celta Vigo who knocked them out of the cup competition last week. Celta are a strong force at Balaidos, and it promises to be a cracker of a match. However, Madrid are still favourites, as per the latest La Liga betting odds, to win the tie.

Injuries to key players have taken a toll on Madrid, so much so that Zinedine Zidane, the Madrid boss, has admitted after Sunday’s victory that no midweek games for a while could be a positive. The Frenchman wants to put all his focus on maintaining the lead in La Liga and the upcoming Champions League round of 16 ties with Napoli.

Zidane will be boosted by the return of James Rodriguez who returned to full training after recovering from muscle problems. The likes of Marcelo, Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale are still sidelined.

The 25-year-old Colombian hasn’t found life easy at Madrid in the past 18 months. He dropped down the pecking order at the club and hardly featured in big games.

His future became the subject of intense speculation. Back in July, Spanish newspaper Marca claimed that Rodriguez and his agent Jorge Mendes had held a meeting to discuss the player’s future. The Colombian has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but he has always maintained that he wants to fight for his place at Los Blancos.

He scored twice in Madrid’s 3-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey earlier this month, and provided an assist against Granada in the La Liga in the following match. His return will serve as a major boost for the club, as Madrid will be looking to prepare properly ahead of their Champions League double legged ties later this month.

Portugal defender, Pepe, has also returned to training. However, right-back Carvajal remains out with a thigh muscle problem picked up in mid-January. He expects to return to join the rest of the squad within next week.

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