Real Madrid's Isco celebrates scoring a goal. Picture: REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA
Real Madrid's Isco celebrates scoring a goal. Picture: REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA

Madrid — A cloud remains over struggling Real Madrid ahead of this weekend’s La Liga action, with the future of Spain midfielder Isco to the fore.

Real sit sixth in the table, behind the likes of Espanyol and Alaves, six points off league leaders Sevilla, while Saturday’s opponents Valencia are 11th.

Isco, who captained his country recently, did not start last weekend’s 3-0 humbling at Eibar and was left out of the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League victory at AS Roma.

The defeat to Eibar was Madrid’s fifth in 13 La Liga matches this season, just one fewer than they suffered in the whole of the last campaign.

Local media have reported that Isco has fallen out with new coach Santiago Solari, who has not named him in the starting lineup for any of his six matches in charge at the Bernabeu.

The situation surrounding the talented playmaker, who has previously been linked with moves to Manchester City, Barcelona and a host of Europe’s top clubs, has caused consternation among the club’s fans. It remains to be seen whether or not he is involved this weekend when Valencia visit the capital.

"They’re decisions you take in the moment for certain situations. We’re here to make those decisions and that’s that," Solari said when quizzed on Isco’s absence in Rome. "Starting or being on the bench is a problem that doesn’t exist. We’re here to give our all, 100% and to get picked that way. I have always seen it like that and I’m not
giving it more importance. We’ve a squad of 24 players."

Valencia, where Isco started his career but failed to nail down a first-team spot before moving to Malaga, come to the Bernabeu on the back of Champions League elimination.

Barcelona, who lost top spot to Sevilla last weekend after drawing away at Atletico, host Villarreal on Sunday before a visit to Alaves.