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Notes & Quotes: November 29, 2018

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Ex-Real striker Mijatovic has some thoughts on a “struggling” Real, Jose Luis Sanchez gives update on Isco situation, and of course there’s already Isco rumors surfacing

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ex-Real Madrid striker Mijatovic believes Real needs to greatly improve

Former Real striker Predag Mijatovic has given his opinion on the status of Real Madrid currently in an interview with Cadena SER.

“Madrid have to improve a lot.”

“They have not convinced me. On Tuesday, they played against a team that is doing very badly in the Italian league.”

“I want to see how Madrid respond next Saturday against Valencia. Madrid have to win but also put on a good performance.”

“There are players like Varane and Modric who have played the World Cup final and will start to feel better in January.”

“Madrid is suffering. It’s a complicated moment and not the Madrid we’re used to seeing in recent years. They are alive in all competitions but they have to improve and play a lot better.”

It’s quite clear that Madrid do have to improve still, particularly in LaLiga. Varane and Modric certainly have not looked totally like themselves this season, leading much speculation of post-World Cup fatigue.

One thing I disagree with is that Valencia is a team Real must prove themselves against. Certainly recently, Valencia have been quite a tough team in LaLiga, they’re even one of the Spanish teams in the Champions League this season. But, they’ve done worse than Roma have in Serie A; Valencia are currently tied for 11th with Valladolid and Getafe at 17 points.

Not to mention that Valencia have done poorly in Group H, which includes United and Juventus, by only managing to field 5 points so far and look like they will not qualify for the Round of 16.

Valencia is still a tough team to face, you don’t want to totally undermine them, but Real Madrid are going to be the clear favorites going into the match and should win. This is no tougher a match than the Roma one was, and Saturday’s match is even at the Bernabéu.

José Luis Sanchez says Isco has no problem with Solari

José Luis Sanchez was on El Chiringuito after the reports of Isco being benched for disciplinary action came out. He said that Isco does not have an issue with Real manager Santiago Solari, despite what has been reported.

COPE had previously come out with a report saying that the issues between the player and coach came from the dressing room. Solari reportedly shook every player’s hand, but when he got to Isco, Isco refused the gesture. It was then that Solari decided to bench him against Roma.

If the Cope report is true, which I personally don’t believe it is, it’s likely Isco’s frustrated with his lack of playing time and starting on the bench mostly since coming back from injury. Sanchez has proven to be one of the most reliable sources for Real Madrid.

I think it’s more likely that Lopetegui might have rushed Isco back too soon from his appendicitis surgery. This seems to be more of a fitness and health issue with Isco than a personal one, as Ceballos has already alluded to before.

Here come the Isco rumors....

Well, it wouldn’t be football if reports weren’t piling in now about a player’s transfer after disagreements get reported. Isco is the latest to fall victim to the early speculation of exit rumors from Real Madrid.

In the span of a day, he has already been linked to several big clubs around Europe. Mundo Deportivo has him most linked to Manchester City, but also report that Arsenal, Juventus, Spurs, and Chelsea have interest.

Tuttosport has him most linked to Juventus, big shock as they’ve been riding the rumor for the past couple of months that Marcelo wants to join back up with Ronaldo at Juve.

And finally, AS have rumored Manchester City and Juventus as the main suitors for the now ‘disgruntled’ Isco.

Of course, these are just rumors at this point. I don’t think there’s any real concern that these are even close to true. They’re just riding with the story that Isco wants to leave because of the new reports between Solari and Isco, if that’s even true.

At this point, the rumors hold about as much water as the Marcelo ones do, which doesn’t appear to be the case that they have any interest in leaving themselves.