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Isco takes blame for Real Madrid bench role

Real Madrid midfielder Isco says he has nobody to blame but himself for a lack of first-team football at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 24-year-old made his first start of the season in the 1-1 draw with Eibar on Sunday, but failed to make a significant impact in his side’s fourth consecutive draw in all competitions.

The Spain international, who signed from Malaga in 2013, found playing time limited under Rafael Benitez at the start of last term and was heavily linked with a move during the transfer window after failing to cement his place in the team under Zinedine Zidane.

Isco, however, insists he does not have to look far to find the reasons behind his diminished role with the European champions.

“I was only first choice in my time with Malaga,” he told Marca. “It’s true that I’ve played a lot of games at Madrid, more than people think, around 150, which is a lot.

“What I have to do, whether I’m starting or on the bench, is to be ready all the time to help the team, to compete and to show the best of myself.

“We’re talking about the best players in the world, there’s a lot of competition and there’s a plan that is practically non-negotiable. It’s possible that, in another team, I could play more.

“In the end, with [Carlo] Ancelotti, I was playing practically all the time – if not as a starter then as the first sub.

“From one season to another, the change was difficult. But as I said, this is part of football. There are ups and downs, but I will fight to the end.

“It’s hard, knowing you’re training well and still not getting opportunities, but it’s my fault. Ultimately, if I’m not a starter under Ancelotti, Benitez or Zidane, I’d be a fool to look for problems where there are none.

“I’m responsible, and that’s what I want to look at – where I can improve so I can get there.”

Isco insists that neither he nor the club have attempted to force through a move elsewhere, despite there being no talks as yet over the renewal of his contract, which expires in 2018.

“I’ve got two years left on my contract at Madrid, the club has never told me anything and neither have I looked to leave,” he said.

“I spoke with him [Zidane] and I knew it would be difficult to be first choice, but I accepted the challenge.

“The truth is I haven’t thought about it [renewing], nor have they called me to renew, so I’m calm.

“If they don’t want to renew me I won’t go asking for it. It’s something that has to come from the club and doesn’t depend on me.”

When asked if he may consider a move in the mid-season window, he added: “No, not in winter. My head is here, I’m, focused on doing my best. I only think about the present.”

Tue 4 Oct, 2016
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