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Santiago Solari Questions Isco Fitness, Player Dropped for Real Valladolid Clash

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 2: (L-R) Isco of Real Madrid, coach Santiago Solari of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 2, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari has said Isco is not in good enough physical shape to play for the club and has thus left the midfielder out of the squad for the clash with Real Valladolid on Sunday.

The Spain international has not started a match in La Liga since Solari was appointed in October and was dropped from the squad entirely for Tuesday's 4-1 loss to Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.

Ahead of Sunday's game, Solari was asked about rumours of Isco's refusal to travel with the team on Tuesday after he was dropped and why the 26-year-old wasn't getting minutes.

"Disciplinary issues are handled internally," he said, per Dejan Kalinic of Goal. "To play, you have to be in the right physical shape first and then you have to maintain it."

Sid Lowe of the Guardian said Isco is on the periphery at Real Madrid:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Isco: total outcast

Per Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge, despite numerous injury issues Isco will not be involved against Valladolid:

David Cartlidge @davidjaca

Odd position for Isco to be in because he knows Solari is going. Does he (a) hold out and wait for the new man to arrive or (b) just cut ties and make the move away regardless, 26 now and peak years you'd expect still ahead.

The Madrid boss will be desperate for a big performance from his players, as speculation regarding his position continues to gather pace.

According to Paola Nunez of ESPN Deportes, support for Solari is dwindling at the Santiago Bernabeu and the club will ax him once a successor is sorted. Former managers Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane are said to be in the frame.

Solari spoke about how he wants the team to react when they take to the field again in La Liga:

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

🎙💬 Listen to Solari's thoughts ahead of tomorrow's #RMLiga clash against @realvalladolidE. #RMCity https://t.co/DPICBpcSi0

While the team's performances represent Solari's primary concern, with three losses in succession in different competitions effectively ending the side's chances of silverware this term, the isolation of Isco throughout his tenure has left plenty puzzled.

At times this season, Los Blancos have lacked an attacking spark, something the playmaker has shown that he can provide. Isco cemented his place as a first-team regular under Zidane and played a big part in Madrid's four Champions League triumphs in the past five years.

Given the uncertainty at the Santiago Bernabeu, it's difficult to predict what will happen with Isco in the coming months, as a new coach may hand the playmaker more chances.

Speaking on Eleven Sports, Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter said the club is suffering from a lack of leadership:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 🤔 | @BumperGraham & @QuintonFortune talk Real Madrid Leadership. With Vinicius, Bale and Lucas injured, Santi Solari has left out Isco, with Brahim Diaz, Cristo and Seoane in the squad vs Valladolid. https://t.co/amfp6jRAiL

The decision not to include Isco in the squad for the Valladolid game doesn't come as a huge surprise, although the decision heaps even more pressure on Solari to get a result.

If Madrid were to slip up again, it would be a surprise if the manager were in charge for much longer. Regardless, given the way in which their campaign has unravelled in the buildup to the fixture, there will surely be a different face in the dugout come the start of next term.

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