Neither Asensio nor Isco have come close to James' best season
In his first season at Real Madrid, James scored 17 goals and made 18 assists - figures which neither Asensio nor Isco have been able to match.
Two years after leaving the club on loan, James Rodríguez could return to Real Madrid, if Bayern Munich don't exercise the 40 million euro purchase option they have written into the loan contract, the Colombian will return to Spain either to stay or to be sold. Comparing James' numbers to the two players who, a priori, would be competing for a place in the team, Isco and Marco Asensio, is clear who comes out on top. Neither Asensio nor Isco have come close to matching James' best season at the Bernabéu.
James' three seasons at Real Madrid
2014-2015: He was Florentino's last galáctico signing, joining from Monaco for 80 million euros after being one of the star performers at the World Cup with Colombia. In his first season with Real Madrid, under Carlo Ancelotti, James posted his best figures: 46 games, scoring 17 goals and providing 18 assists.
2015-2016: James' performance levels dipped in both of the following two seasons. First under Rafa Benítez then under Zidane; it was during this campaign that the midfielder lost his status within the side and never returned to be an undisputed starter: he played a total of 1889 minutes, in 32 games, scoring 8 goals and setting up a further 10.
2016-2017: In his final season at the Bernabéu, with Zidane still in charge, James improved his figures but not quite enough to convince the coach: 33 gamess (1884 minutes), with 11 goals and 12 assists.
Isco's best three seasons at Madrid
Isco is now in his sixth season with Real Madrid. During his first three years at the club, he competed for a regular place in the side with James, but has never managed to match his numbers (goals/assists). Looking at Isco's best three campaigns, here are the stats:
2013-2014: In his first season he played 53 games (3166 minutes), scoring 11 goals and contributing 9 assists. He was a first choice for Ancelotti, but the following summer Florentino decided to sign James.
2016-2017: During this season he equalled his figures he recorded in his debut season (11+9), with Zidane now on the Madrid bench. He played 42 games (2338 minutes) and played a key role in the team's success in lifting the Duodécima.
2017-2018: Last season was Isco's third best - when Zidane's team won the Decimotercera. He made 49 appearances (2957 minutes), scoring 9 and providing 10 assists.
Asensio's best seasons at the Bernabéu
2016-2017: Asensio arrived in the summer of 2016 after spending the previous season on loan at Espanyol. In his first season, in which he was gradually eased into the side, scoring 10 goals and giving 4 assists in 38 games (1919 minutes).
2017-2018: In his second season, Asensio almost doubled his appearances (58 - (2864 minutes), but his numbers hardly changed (11 goals, 6 assists).
2018-2019: This season was meant to be the one where Asensio would consolidate his place in the team and come to the fore, more so after Cristiano's departure. To date he has played 17 games (1084 minutes), scored 2 and set up another 3.
In the 2014-2015 season, he scored 6 and made 13 assists; and in 2015-2016, his figures were roughly the same (5+10).