Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane (right) withdrew James Rodriguez last night
Manchester United have been linked with a swoop for James Rodriguez as part of a deal that would see David de Gea head to Real Madrid.
Rodriguez has struggled for game time at the Bernabeu this season, having started just eight La Liga games.
The Colombia international was withdrawn 72 minutes into Real’s 4-2 win at Leganes last night, having scored the opener.
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It's to be expected that he gets angry because they all went to play a full game
Zidane on Rodriguez
He was visibly disappointed at being replaced by 23-year-old Mariano.
But Zidane insists it was not a public show of defiance from the 25-year-old.
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"It's to be expected that he gets angry because they all went to play a full game," Zidane told Real’s website.
Rodriguez scored the opener for Real Madrid at Leganes
Rodriguez has started just eight La Liga games all season
"These things happen and what I take away with me is his performance because he played very well.
"I haven't got anything against James, quite the opposite.
“I bring him off a lot, but that's because he's an attacking player and he works very hard. There's nothing more to it."
Spanish newspaper Marca yesterday claimed Real have begun ‘Operation De Gea’ in a bid to bring the Spain international to the capital.
United don’t want to sell their star goalkeeper but Real are reportedly confident that using Rodriguez as a makeweight could secure the deal.