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'I thought I had friends in Madrid’s dressing room and I was wrong'

The Blancos’ academy graduate, Jese Rodriguez, has endured a tough time since departing Santiago Bernabeu.

Jese Rodriguez (file pic).
Jese Rodriguez (file pic).
Image: Paul Harding

JESE RODRIGUEZ HAS expressed his disappointment at being let down by supposed “friends” at Real Madrid.

The 25-year-old forward is a product of a famed academy system in the Spanish capital, having stepped out of the youth ranks to take in 98 appearances for the Blancos.

He did, however, suffer a serious knee injury while part of the senior set-up in Madrid and struggled for regular starts amid fierce competition for places.

That led him to seek a fresh start at Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, but that move has gone sour and seen him take in forgettable loan spells at Las Palmas and Stoke.

Jese has not taken part in a competitive outing for almost a year, having faced a tough time on and off the field, with a once promising career now in danger of stalling.

There have been plenty of disappointments for the Gran Canaria native to endure of late, with a lack of support from Madrid among them.

Jese told AS: “When you leave the club you realise plenty of things. But this is not a critic, everybody can do what they want to do.

I thought I had friends in Madrid’s dressing room and I was wrong. They are not friends anymore because they didn’t reply to my messages or ask me how I was.”

Jese is now trying to rebuild while finding himself on the fringes of a star-studded squad in Paris.

“I’m now training with the person who was working with me prior to the injury,” he added.

“Other than training with the team, I also do a personalised session with him and another one at home. I’ve dropped seven kilos.

 “[Thomas] Tuchel said a month ago during a team meeting that I was a good example for the rest of the squad because of how I am responding to my situation within the club. He thanked me.”

His effort may have been recognised by his boss at PSG, but that is unlikely to be enough to see him welcomed back from the wilderness.

Instead, another clean slate may be required for a man who admits to having plenty of regrets at how things have gone for him.

What I regret the most is not taking advantage of the moments I had in Madrid after the injury,” said Jese.

“I’ve been thinking and I admit that had I taken things as seriously as I’m taking them right now…

“Then I came to Paris, I had surgery and was out for two months, never played on a consistent basis.

“Had I been as disciplined after the injury in Madrid maybe my career would’ve been different.”

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