Rodriguez: Real Madrid players listen more to Zidane than Benitez

The attacker says the players show the new coach respect and defended his own reputation, insisting he was a "great professional" despite receiving criticism in recent weeks

James Rodriguez believes Real Madrid made the correct decision in appointing Zinedine Zidane as head coach, admitting the players pay more attention to him than they did to Rafael Benitez.

Zidane had won his opening two games after replacing Benitez as Madrid boss, but saw that run come to an end on Sunday with a 1-1 draw with Real Betis, in which he named Rodriguez in his starting line-up for the first time following Gareth Bale’s calf injury.

Rodriguez has been at the heart of speculation in recent weeks following inconsistent performances and some off-field distractions, including being caught speeding by police.


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However, the 24-year-old said he was pleased with his individual performance in the draw and appeared eager to support his new boss.

"I think today I was good,” he told reporters after the game. “Now we will train more and that helps me a lot.

"The change of coach was good. Everybody listen more to the new coach."

The Frenchman was reportedly unhappy with Rodriguez’s unwillingness to warm-up during his side's 5-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon last weekend and has been forced to answer questions over his player’s personal life.