"Pepe? He's our player and an important one", Zidane said ahead of tomorrow's Copa del Rey clash with Sevilla. "Obviously all of us want to play at every opportunity, we all go through rough paces but this is a new year and new chance".
"He is an important player for Real Madrid and I treat him just the same as anyone", commented the Madrid coach, who said James was "in a complicated moment".
Rodriguez was reportedly a target for Manchester United and Chelsea, but Real Madrid are under transfer embargo this month and can not sign a replacement for the £71m midfielder until the summer.
"When you don't play in a final, you get angry", said Zidane in Tuesday's press conference adding that "I understand that sometimes it's hard, but it's hard for everyone".
He was a World Cup darling, having starred in the tournament that summer, and a rising star, but he's been unable to crack the starting lineup for Real Madrid with any regularity in the 30 months since.
James was back in action for Real last night as Zidane's men brushed Sevilla aside 3-0 in the King's Cup last 16.
Badgers defeat Western Michigan 24-16, win Cotton Bowl
Wisconsin failed to cover in the match as a -2.5-point favorite, while 69 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors. The Broncos averaged a very balanced 497 yards per game on offense this season, 260 through the air and 237 on the ground.
"I am staying, I am staying".
Rodriguez has played 17 games in all competitions for Real so far this season, scoring four goals and assisting a further nine strikes. "This is the club that I always dreamed of playing for and when I hear the Bernabeu chanting my name there's nothing like it", he added.
"I don't think [those critics] doubt his potential, because it's tremendous and his statistics show that", Zidane said.
"I see him happy here, because this is his home".
Without the injured Gareth Bale, the French coach took the bold step of resting stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, and his courage paid off with a convincing display on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.