James Rodriguez is not yet guaranteed a place in Real Madrid’s team despite scoring in the Super Cup first leg against Atletico, says Pako Ayestaran.
The former Valencia and Liverpool assistant manager believes Rodriguez – signed for £63m this summer – is still competing for a starting berth despite netting Real’s goal in the 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.
Ayestaran explained: “Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have their place in the 11 so it depends on Benzema. It depends on his form. Probably he will be the first to come off the pitch and give his place to James.”
Rafael Benitez’s former assistant also praised Real’s change in formation which freed up Rodriguez in the second half.
“After the substitution of Angel Di Maria they changed the shape of the team and started to play 4-2-3-1 and we saw Xabi Alonso alongside Toni Kroos. Both were comfortable on the ball.
“At the beginning James was behind the striker and then he played wide with Bale or Benzema behind the striker. They started trying to attack more from wide areas.”
Ayestaran suggested that Real consider changing their approach for the second leg against the defensively-minded Atletico.
“Real has to change their way of playing against a team like Atletico who play so deep – you need more players between the lines. Probably I would pull off one of the two holding midfielders, Luka Modric or Alonso, I don’t think they should play the second leg.”