Until his display against Roma this week, Real Madrid's Marcos Llorente looked certain to leave on loan in search of regular football...
Marcos Llorente had all but agreed a January loan switch to Alavés, but his future is now up in the air in the wake of his fine performance in Real Madrid's Champions League win at Roma.
Llorente hints Alavés move still his preference
Former Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui denied Llorente a loan departure in the summer, but the club's stance had then changed ahead of the mid-season transfer window, with Alavés - where he spent a successful year-long spell in 2016/17 - best placed to secure the defensive midfielder's services.
And although there is still a good possibility that the move to Vitoria will happen, Llorente's display in Tuesday's 2-0 Group G victory could also be the catalyst for the deal to be shelved. All will depend on how prominent a role he enjoys at Madrid in the games to come. Speaking post-match at the Stadio Olimpico, though, the 23-year-old appeared to suggest that he remains keen to depart in January, telling reporters: "My dream is to be a success at Madrid, but when the winter window arrives we'll talk to the club..."
Llorente also admitted that he "didn't expect to be in the line-up at all". After failing to make the squad for Los Blancos' four previous games, the young Spaniard's sights were firmly set on re-joining Alavés in the New Year, and he knows that when the team's first-choice holding midfielder, Casemiro, returns from injury, he could find himself watching on from the stands once more. In the wake of events in Rome, it remains to be seen whether or not Madrid's plans will change...
Real Madrid youth product shines in Rome
Before starting in Rome, Llorente had featured for a total of just 101 minutes of competitive club football this season. However, that lack of action was not in evidence in the Italian capital: he ran 11.95km (an overall distance which, among Madrid's players, was bettered only by Lucas Vázquez's 12.53km), recovered possession eight times, and showed excellent precision in his build-up play, completing 51 of his 56 passes (a success rate of 91%).