Isco is adamant Real Madrid are no weaker to last season, despite their 0-0 draw with Athletic Bilbao, as stating they are would be ‘opportunistic’.

Madrid shipping out the likes of James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata and Mariano Diaz over the summer was put forward as a reason for their failure to break down Athletic, but Isco insisted his side were “just as competitive”, blaming their lack of goals on injuries.

“This game is a clear example of our lack of goals. We had chances,” the midfielder said after the match.

“Maybe that’s what’s punishing us, but you can’t accuse the team of doing anything wrong. We had Athletic in our palms until the red card.

“We lacked calmness in the final third, and it’s a shame because we tried until the end.

“Not working hard enough? The team had a good game. We were able to score towards the end of games last season and we’re missing a bit of luck. That can influence things in football.

“Now we have two very important matches and the Club World Cup coming up. They’re chances for us to gain confidence and cut the deficit.

“Weaker than last season? It’s a bit opportunistic to say that. When the results don’t come out like they did last year, it’s easy to think we’re weaker.

“We have a squad that’s just as competitive as the one we had last season, plus we’ve still not had everyone available due to injuries, and that’s important.

“Ramos? I didn’t see the incident, it happened too quickly. You’re fired up on the pitch, but you also have to understand that it’s very difficult.”

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