Rodriguez has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in recent weeks, reportedly attracting the interest of West Ham and Manchester United.
Zidane appears reluctant to allow the Colombia international to leave but concedes he may not be able to offer him regular first-team football.
“The idea with James is the same as with everyone else – he’s a Real Madrid player,” said Zidane.
“I’m not going to tell you that James is a starter. He’s an important player. We’ll see what happens this year, I have a big squad and it’s complicated.”
Madrid bolstered their attacking ranks by re-signing Alvaro Morata from Juventus last month, but Zidane was just as cautious about talking up the returning striker’s role in the team.
“He [Morata] is one more player in the team,” he added. “He knows what Madrid is and we’re happy to see Alvaro with us.
“We’re going to have a much bigger squad and everyone will be important. He’ll be one more.”
Discussing Jese Rodriguez’s first-team prospects, Zidane explained:
“Last year he [Jese] didn’t have many minutes.
“I like him, I like him a lot as a player. He can have minutes here, he knows his quality.”
The challenge for Zidane is that Rodriguez does not fit into his preferred 4-3-3 system when everyone is fit. Actually neither does Paul Pogba, but that is a story for another day.
With a transfer ban looming, it makes sense for Real to sell Rodriguez this summer, and use the money to fortify some other areas of the team.
The question then is where does Rodriguez go? Real want around €60 million for him, which rules out everyone except PSG and Premier League clubs. Similar to Real Madrid, Rodriguez is not a natural fit for the style of play that PSG has, which leaves a move to England as his most likely destination.
Where do you think James Rodriguez will be playing next season?