James Rodriguez wants to stay at Real Madrid 'for many more years'
James Rodriguez says he is sure to stay at Real Madrid next season -- and after thinking a lot about his future recently he has decided he does not want to leave.
The Colombia international, who joined Madrid for €80 million in the summer of 2014, had seemed set for a transfer when he spoke publicly about a need to move elsewhere to get more playing time after watching December's Club World Cup final from the bench.
However he told El Transistor in the mixed zone after starting Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League round of 16 first leg win over Napoli that after reflection on his position he had realised that the Bernabeu was the best place to be.
"I thought over everything well," James said. "Real Madrid is a big club, where I always wanted to be. I am happy. You can go through good and bad moments. But I want to be here for many more years."
Asked directly if he could guarantee to still be at Madrid in 2017-18, he said there was no reason why not and suggested he had felt better after clear the air talks with coach Zinedine Zidane.
"Yes, yes, why not?," he said. "I always wanted to be at this club. You always want to play. Now I am getting a bit more time, so it changes everything. We all train to be able to play.
"The coaching staff decide. I get on well with [Zidane]. He is a great coach, and even better as a person. I spoke with him, although these are things that stay inside. I don't want to talk about that now."
After featuring in Madrid's first two games of 2017, James was sidelined for a month with a troublesome calf muscle injury, but said he was now feeling fine after making his return as a substitute and contributing to last weekend's 3-1 La Liga win at Osasuna.
"I was relaxed during the three weeks out," he said. "In these two games I have played now [since returning to fitness] I have felt good."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan