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Lopetegui: “If Kovacic leaves we’ll have to find someone of his quality”

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Manchester United v Real Madrid - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui admitted the possibility of losing Mateo Kovacic for the first time this summer. Although Kovacic will reportedly leave on a loan deal to Chelsea, Lopetegui thinks the club will need to sign someone else to replace him.

“The solution that we’d look for at the right time would be a player at Kovacic’s level, someone who is a top-level footballer. To compete all the objectives we’ve got, we need a balanced squad,” said Lopetegui.

“It’s true that Mateo has expressed his desire to leave. I’ve expressed my desire for him to stay. If he leaves, we’ll see how we organise things. Regarding Modric, I’ve already answered on previous occasions and there is nothing new there,” he added.

Lopetegui didn’t want to speak in similar terms about Courtois, who seems set to join Real Madrid once Chelsea complete the signing of Kepa.

“I always say that I’m not talking about players who’re not at Real Madrid. Keylor is our goalkeeper and there are no other goalkeepers I can talk about except Keylor, Kiko, Lunin and Luca. I understand your work, it’s different from mine, you build the bridge before the river. Keylor is phenomenal, he has our full confidence and is an extraordinary goalkeeper. He’s delighted to belong to Real Madrid and we’re delighted with him,” explained the Spanish coach.

Lopetegui also discussed the team’s pre-season stage in the United States.

“The tour has been good and has helped us get up to pace. We’ve had to travel, but we’ve taken advantage of the time available to work and go through the preparation stages. The matches have been good and we’ve also shaped and worked on the pace of those who arrived later. We had Vallejo’s injury, who has muscle tear that will set him back for a few weeks. Álvaro Odriozola had a problem today but otherwise everything is fine,” he concluded.