Real Madrid president Florentino Perez lauded James Rodriguez as one of the world's best amid persistent speculation over the midfielder's future.
James is largely expected to make a Madrid exit in the off-season, with Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan among those linked with a move.
The Colombia international made just 13 LaLiga starts for Madrid in 2016-17, leading to speculation over his future.
Perez was full of praise for the 25-year-old, but said the club's interests came first.
"He is one of the best players in the world," he told esRadio.
"He is at Madrid... we have to match the interests of the players with ours, but prevailing those of Madrid."
James joined Real Madrid from Monaco in a big-money move in 2014, but his game time was limited last season.