Real Madrid Boss Santiago Solari Dismisses Isco Rift Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 3: Isco of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu on November 3, 2018 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari has dismissed talk of a falling out with midfielder Isco after failing to hand the Spain international a start in his six games since taking charge. 

It was a surprise to see Isco omitted altogether from the squad that beat AS Roma 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Solari spoke to the media ahead of their clash against Valencia on Saturday and played down talk of a rift:

"Honestly, I think there's not really anything to talk about here.

"I spoke the other day. These are things that happen, they are decisions that have to be made. That's it.

"I can't be speculating all the time here with you guys.

"There are 24 professionals, they are all working hard and we have to take decisions. There's nothing more to say."

Solari outlined the squad collective as his main focus and added: "I do whatever I consider is best for every single player. Every single one is important. We are all Real Madrid."

Gabrielle Amado of beIN Sports looked at Isco's recent lack of activity under the new boss, despite him having seemed so favoured under his predecessor, Julen Lopetegui:


From prodigal son to Los Blancos' black sheep: @isco_alarcon's status has changed under Santiago Solari. @gabamado takes a look at the rocky relationship between the "bandy-legged beauty" and @realmadriden's new manager. #TheXTRA https://t.co/aMkssznm6L

The obvious argument there is that Real have won five of their six matches under Solari, while they lost five in 13 games with Lopetegui (all of which came in their last seven contests).

Solari said after the recent win over Roma that the decision to drop Isco altogether was purely a "sporting decision," per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan.

It's surprising two managers should have such opposite opinions on the function of an established Spain international, one who captained his country to a 1-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina earlier in November.

The truth could be Isco just isn't a player Solari feels is necessary. His 4-3-3 formation is largely the same as those who have run the team before him, with Dani Ceballos serving as the preferred midfield back-up to Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.

Isco could be the next high-profile name to leave the Santiago Bernabeu if he wants more first-team football, and Juventus blogger Arjun Pradeep posted a Tuttosport cover that said Turin is a desirable destination:

Arjun Pradeep @IndianRegista

🇮🇹 📰 | Front page of Tuttosport headlines that after Marcelo, Isco is now considering to leave Real Madrid. He has separated with Solari and may leave in Jan/June. Juventus are a tempting prospect for Marcelo/Isco. "CR7 effect has pulverized Real Madrid. They want Juve." https://t.co/2DIEuePeOF

MailOnline's Pete Jenson also wrote Manchester City and Arsenal have kept tabs on Isco's situation in the past, though it's uncertain if either club will return in future.

Isco moved to Real from Malaga in 2013 and has had to put up with fighting for his spot from the sidelines, but it seems Solari doesn't have big plans for the playmaker, either.