Mateo Kovacic returned to Real Madrid training on Sunday following the end of his post-World Cup holidays, and is now hard at it at Valdebebas. On Monday, he went through his paces with Real's 'B' team, Castilla, and fellow first-teamers Casemiro, Marcelo and Raphael Varane.
Kovacic set on leaving and could even go on strike
However, the Croatia midfielder remains determined to leave the European champions this summer, and has even considered refusing to train in a bid to force through his departure from the Bernabéu.
Before heading off on holiday after Croatia's World Cup final defeat to France in mid-July, Kovacic met with Real's new head coach, Julen Lopetegui, in Madrid to inform him of his desire to move on. He has also told his team-mates of his decision, making it plain to them that he is adamant.
The club have so far maintained the stance that Kovacic is not for sale, as they consider the 24-year-old to be an important player and are pessimistic of being able to find an affordable replacement of the same calibre.
Only a regular starting spot would persuade Kovacic to stay
But Kovacic is insistent that his future lies elsewhere. He believes he deserves a more central first-team role; indeed, when he spoke to Lopetegui, he told the new boss he would have to guarantee him a regular starting spot to make him change his mind.
Nevertheless, Lopetegui remains confident that he can persuade the former Dinamo Zagreb and Inter Milan player to stay.