James suffers calf injury to add to Real Madrid fitness woes

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The 28-year-old made his first Blancos start in two years as his side drew 1-1 with Real Valladolid, but he picked up a calf injury in the process

Real Madrid have suffered another setback after it was confirmed James Rodriguez has suffered a calf injury.

The midfielder started his side's 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid on Saturday and was taken off before the hour mark, being replaced by Vinicius Junior.

And the 28-year-old seemed to pick up an injury as Madrid revealed he had been sent for tests on Monday, though they do not know how long he will be kept out of action.

"After the tests carried out today on our player James Rodríguez by the Real Madrid Medical Services he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in the right soleus," a statement read.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Madrid were already without the injured Eden Hazard and Ferland Mendy, while Marco Asensio has been ruled out for most of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

James had been expected to leave Madrid this summer until Asensio picked up his injury in pre-season.

The ex-Monaco star had been linked with Napoli and Atletico Madrid upon his return to the Spanish capital from a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed in June that they were in talks to sign James as coach Carlo Ancelotti wanted to reunite with his former Bayern player.

However, De Laurentiis complained that Madrid were demanding too much for him and they ended up signing Mexico star Hirving Lozano from PSV instead. 

Saturday's clash was James' first competitive appearance for the club since May 2017 and he spoke of the  "unique feeling"  he had that playing at Santiago Bernabeu again.

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And the Colombia international earned praise from coach Zinedine Zidane for his performance despite the disappointing result.

“James played a good match, he left the pitch because he was a little hurt and we prefer to not take risk,” Zidane told reporters. “But he did a good job, especially in the first half.”

James has made 112 appearances since arriving at Madrid in 2014 and still has two years left on his contract.