James Rodriguez still views Zinedine Zidane as an idol despite falling out of favour with the Real Madrid boss prior to his switch to Bayern Munich.
After impressing in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu under Carlo Ancelotti, Colombia captain James found game time harder to come by under Rafael Benitez and Zidane.
The 26-year-old was consequently sent on a two-year loan to Bayern Munich, who possess an option to buy, last July.
James harbours no ill-feeling towards Zidane and regrets being unable to make more of an impact during his time in LaLiga.
"[Zidane is] still my idol. He was a top player with a lot of quality and I admire those who play good football," the attacking midfielder told 'El Chiringuito de Jugones' on Spanish TV channel Mega.
"I don't know whether I can say I had a closeness with Zidane but each coach has their preferences. I can't say whether he was unfair with me but there is no point thinking about that any more.
"The way I left was sad as [playing for Madrid] was a dream for me but football is like that."
James faced regular questions about his professionalism in Madrid but felt his efforts were more than sufficient to warrant a place at the club.
"I cannot accept that I trained badly. I trained a lot, twice as much," he added.
"I have a very clear conscience because I know that I trained well and always tried to give my all when I played."