Former Colombia star Jackson Martinez has praised James Rodriguez for moving to Everton in the summer.

Rodriguez made a high profile move to Goodison Park, with the Blues reportedly securing him on a free transfer from Real Madrid.

His departure from the Bernabeu came as a surprise to nobody given Madrid had been desperate to reduce their wage bill following the Coronavirus pandemic.

Everton being his destination was undoubtedly a shock, though, with many surprised that he was willing to take such a significant step down in terms of size of club.

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He’s made an instant impression at the club, though, and former teammate Martinez believes he deserves credit for going backwards.

“It is true that he had opportunities (at Madrid), but you have to clarify,” he told the Colombian edition of AS.

“People look at the games he has played, but what you have to see are the minutes he played in those games.

“James would have been key in Madrid if he had had the ease that he is now having at Everton.

“He has a coach, Ancelotti, who knows what he can give and what not. 

“You have to see how good he looks now. He was right to decide to go to Everton because sometimes one step back is two steps forward.”

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One of the key reasons for Rodriguez’s departure from Real Madrid was his relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane.

Unlike at Everton, where he has a father-son like bond with Carlo Ancelotti, there was never such a connection with the French legend.

Indeed, it has been widely reported that the pair simply did not get on, with the Madrid boss not believing that the Colombian star could fit into his side, or attempting to make it work.

Their relationship was well documented, particularly in Colombia, where Zidane was no favourite, according to Martinez.

“In Colombia, people who know football and who saw him play love Zidane, and he is recognised as a coach, but in this situation, they took it personally in my country,” he added.

“They criticised him aggressively, and everyone defended James, who held the situation with maturity until he had to speak and say certain things.  

“It was already evident that he was not going to be taken into account.

“There were several years in which the coach did not have the player even though he had him in the team.”