REAL MADRID

James: Real Madrid man given first LaLiga start in 66 days

The Colombian midfielder had not been in a Real Madrid line-up in the league since a home draw with Villarreal in week five.

James: Real Madrid man given first LaLiga start in 66 days
JAVIER SORIANO AFP

Real Madrid's home clash with Sporting Gijon on Saturday saw midfielder James Rodríguez handed his first LaLiga start for Los Blancos in a whopping 66 days.

Last began a Real league match in September

Since featuring for the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Villarreal at the Bernabéu on 21 September, James had not been in the line-up in seven straight league games.

The Colombian has enjoyed a mere 27 minutes of top-flight action in that time (although it must be noted that he was out injured for two of those seven fixtures).

James (left) in action in Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Villarreal in September.

Did start in the Copa in late October...

Despite failing to start a LaLiga fixture in just over two months, James did begin Real's Copa del Rey victory at Cultural Leonesa on 26 October.

That evening, the 25-year-old ex-Porto and Monaco player provided three assists as the Spanish capital outfit won the sides' last-32 first leg 7-1.

More game time than just four other squad members

After a fine first campaign at Madrid in the 2014/15 season, James has since endured a frustrating time at the European champions.

This term, he has only played more minutes than third-choice keeper Rubén Yáñez, young striker Mariano Díaz, left-back understudy Fabio Coentrao and midfielder Casemiro, who is just returning after a nearly ten-week injury lay-off.