AFP

Champions League: James a surprise starter for Real Madrid vs Napoli

James a surprise starter for Real Madrid vs Napoli

James Rodriguez was named in the Real Madrid starting XI for just the second time in 2017 ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg against Napoli.

The Colombia international had not started a game since the 3-0 Copa del Rey win over Sevilla on January 4, when Zinedine Zidane's side had a decidedly rotated feel.

James had not played at all since that game due to a calf injury until Saturday, when he played 33 minutes as a substitute in the 3-1 win at Osasuna.

He is likely to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in a front three, with Isco dropped to the bench and Toni Kroos returning in midfield, replacing Nacho Fernandez.

Dani Carvajal also returns to Zidane's side for the first time since a 2-1 LaLiga defeat to Sevilla on January 15.

Arkadiusz Milik is once again on the bench for Napoli as he looks to make a return from a serious knee injury sustained last October.

The Serie A side have two former Madrid players in their XI in the shape of Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon.


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