Lopetegui hints at Mateo Kovacic exit

Real Madrid Coach Julen Lopetegui has hinted midfielder Mateo Kovacic will leave the club amid links to Chelsea.

A report in Marca on Tuesday said the Croatian international will move to Stamford Bridge following the player telling the European champions he would not return to training in order to force an exit.

“Well, you know I cannot speak of something that has not happened yet,” Lopetegui told reporters, as cited by Diario Sport, when quizzed over the future of the midfielder.

“Nothing has been decided but if this happens then we will look to find solutions and ensure our first-team squad has a good balance, which I am convinced of.

“Luka Modric? I can assure you here will remain as part of our team. Our president (Florentino Perez) has already expressed this very clearly.”

A report in Marca last week said the 24-year-old spoke to Lopetegui following his return from the World Cup and insisted he wished to depart the Bernabeu for more first-team opportunities.

A report in Sky Sports earlier this month that Manchester City wanted the midfielder but Madrid responded by stating he was priced at €80m, which killed the potential of any move.

The Croat has started only 37 La Liga games across three seasons and started only 10 in his most recent campaign.

Kovacic joined the European champions from Inter in 2015 in a €35m deal, having originally cost the Milanese giants €11m from Dinamo Zagreb.

Tags Chelsea Mateo Kovacic