Isco hints at summer move over bench role

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco has started 11 of 21 matches in La Liga and only one in the Champions League this term.
Real Madrid's midfielder Isco has started 11 of 21 matches in La Liga and only one in the Champions League this term. PHOTO: AFP

MADRID • Spain international Isco may look to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season after growing tired of a lack of first-team opportunities.

Spanish sports daily Marca reported yesterday that the midfielder, who cast doubts on his future at the club on Saturday, is unhappy with his playing time.

Isco has started 11 of 21 matches in La Liga and only one in the Champions League this term.

Marca reported the 24-year-old was also unhappy with Real's offer of an improved salary and that he wants to move to Manchester City.

Isco was left out of the team in the 3-1 Champions League last-16, first leg win over Napoli.

He rarely starts when coach Zinedine Zidane has a full squad available.

The Spaniard, however, played a starring role in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Espanyol, setting up Alvaro Morata and Gareth Bale.

But after the game, he said he was non-committal about staying.

"I'm calm but I'm concerned about the number of minutes I am playing because the career of a player is very short," he told BeIN sports.

"We'll take a decision at the end of the season, because my future is at stake."

Meanwhile, under-fire Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has the total support of his players, defender Gerard Pique insisted on Monday.

Pique called for fan unity after supporters had booed the team during a 2-1 league win over lowly Leganes on Sunday.

"When the fans come here to the stadium, we want their support," Pique said.

Pique admitted Barcelona have been below. "We've been unrecognisable, unable to hold possession but, trust me, we're the ones hurting most," he said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'Isco hints at summer move over bench role'. Print Edition | Subscribe