As per a report from Spanish outlet Marca, Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic has refused to train with Los Blancos until his future is sorted out.
Since his move to the Bernabeu from Inter Milan in the summer of 2015, Croatian international Kovacic has endured an up-and-down spell with Los Blancos, finding himself confined to the bench for much of his stint in the Spanish capital.
However, following just 8 La Liga starts during his debut campaign with the club, the 24-year-old went on to solidify himself as an important member of Zinedine Zidane’s squad during the 2016/17 campaign, starting 19 league outings for the eventual Spanish champions.
A number of increasingly impressive displays were backed up by a sensational pre-season for Kovacic, with the classy midfielder having started and starred in Real’s ‘friendly’ victory over fierce rivals Barcelona in Miami, as well as both of their Spanish Super Cup wins over the Blaugrana.
‘Not for sale’
However, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro already to contend with at the Bernabeu, and Real having beaten a host of top clubs to the signing of Spanish midfield prodigy Dani Ceballos last summer, several European giants were subsequently linked with moves for Kovacic.
In the end, the gifted Croat stayed put, though, with Real director Jose Angel Sanchez having had the following to say regarding Kovacic’s future in the Spanish capital:
‘Kovacic is not for sale, we will never sell him.’
‘He is one of the players the club’s future relies on.’
‘Time for me to play’
But, after the Dinamo Zagreb youth product managed just 10 La Liga starts this past season, rumours have once again been rife in the media that Kovacic could be on the move before the close of the transfer window.
Speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo in June, the 46-time capped international admitted that the possibility of seeking pastures new this summer in search of more regular playing time was an option which he was taking into serious consideration:
‘I believe I’ll play more, whether in Real or somewhere else.’
‘Now is the time for me to play.’
‘Offers? I am under contract with Real and I wish not to comment on other clubs.’
‘Best if I go to another club’
And, during yet another interview regarding his future with Spanish outlet Marca a short time later, Kovacic confirmed once and for all his intention to depart the Bernabeu this summer:
‘I also know that it’s difficult to play as a starter at Madrid, especially because I was very young when I came here.’
‘I understand the situation, and that’s why I think it’s best if I go to another club, where I have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter.’
It’s an opportunity I think I can get and one I want right now. Every player is important at Real Madrid.’
‘However, the problem is that for a young player, it’s difficult to have continuity, and without that continuity I’ll never be able to show my full potential.’
But, despite the midfielder’s absolute insistence on moving on, a desire which he has since reiterated to new manager Julen Lopetegui, reports in the Spanish media over the last couple of weeks have insisted that Real will still not even consider parting ways with the Croat.
And this stance on the part of the Champions League holders looks to have only made matters worse, amid claims from Marca this evening that Kovacic has now informed Los Blancos that he will not train with the rest of the club’s squad until the possibility of a sale is at least taken into consideration.
The report states that Kovacic ‘does not understand’ the definitive action taken by Real regarding his future, with the gifted midfielder having returned to the club this morning, only to inform the coaching staff that he will not don the colours of the club, in training or on the pitch, until his future is resolved.
As such, Kovacic’s numerous suitors are no doubt on high alert, with claims having already emerged in Italy that the former Inter Milan man has been offered to AS Roma.