REAL MADRID

Isco's situation at Real Madrid hits an all-time low

The squad felt that bringing on Sergio Arribas against Levante instead of the more experienced Isco was humiliating. If an offer arrives, Isco will leave.

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Several members of the Real Madrid squad viewed the substitution made by David Bettoni at the Alfredo Di Stéfano on Saturday as humiliating for Isco. Bettoni, taking orders from Zidane, brought on Castilla midfielder Sergio Arribas as part of a double substitution on 81 minutes while Isco wasn't even told to start warming up. Isco and Arribas share the same position - just behind the forwards. Madrid were trailing 1-2 to Levante and needing a goal to get back in the game but Isco, once again, was not an option for the coaches.

Isco reaches point of no return

The player took the decision on his chin and without a great deal of surprise - he has been ostracised for much of the season and has made it known that he is open to leaving the club. And he is not the only one who has grown tired of waiting to play. Jovic and Ødegaard, with the club's consent, both went out on loan last month. Before the Levante game, AS reported that Isco would be open to leaving during the current transfer window, which is due to close at midnight tonight. But it looks like he will have to sit it out until the end of the season. According to sources close to the player, it is highly unlikely that Isco will find a club before tonight's deadline, but if an offer comes in, they will be only too happy to study it.

Ødegaard's loan move to Arsenal appears to have done little to change Isco's position in the pecking order. He was captured voicing his unhappiness in the dug-out by Movistar Plus before El Clásico on 24 October ("If he has to take me off, it's in the 50th or 60th minute. Sometimes at half time. When he decides to bring me on, it's on 80 minutes"); that incident appears to have sentenced his fate. Since then, he has played just 16% of the total possible minutes in 21 games. He has been included in the starting line-up for just two of those games - against Valencia in LaLiga and Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.

Kick in the teeth

If Isco was on the bench for the Levante game, that means he is fit to play. It seems very strange that Madrid took the decision to let Ødegaard leave when it is clear that Isco doesn't figure at all in Zidane's plans. An unfortunate injury to Modric or Kroos would leave Isco as the team's only creative midfielder (Valverde gives the team balance rather than to open up rival teams). But what happened in Valdebebas the other day could be a sign of what Isco can expect for the remainder of the season - very different from what he might have imagined when Ødegaard left. Any trust that there might have been between the player and the coaching staff has now completely evaporated.