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Isco’s future at Real Madrid not up to me – Solari

Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has left the door open to a January exit for Isco after suggesting on Tuesday it will be up to the club whether to keep the midfielder. 

Solari dodged an opportunity to back Isco after being asked if, as coach, he would be happy to allow the Spaniard to leave this month. 

“You said it,” Solari said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I am just the coach.” 

Real Madrid are unlikely to sell Isco in January, particularly as Solari’s own future is not guaranteed. 

Solari was handed a contract until 2021 when appointed permanent coach in November but another change could be made in the summer. 

Isco has been the stand-out player to have suffered from Solari’s appointment, having enjoyed a key role under Julen Lopetegui.

Solari is yet to start him in a La Liga match and left him out of a rotated line-up last week as Madrid beat Leganes 3-0 in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey. 

“We have a fantastic squad and I have to choose who participates in each game,” Solari said, speaking ahead of the second leg at Butarque on Wednesday.

Madrid have been hit by a string of injuries in recent weeks, with Karim Benzema joining the list of absentees after fracturing his finger against Real Betis last weekend. 

Benzema will miss the second leg against Leganes but Solari is hopeful the striker will return against Sevilla on Saturday. 

Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio, Thibaut Courtois and Marcos Llorente have all begun training again but Gareth Bale is still recovering from a calf strain. 

Bale’s injury has given 18-year-old Vinicius Junior a run in the team and the teenager has taken his chance, delivering a series of lively performances.

“He has a lot of talent and he shows it when he needs to,” Solari said. “He only arrived this season, aged 17, so the speed of his adaptation is very impressive. That said, we all have to take care of him because he is still young.” 

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