Wanted Isco seeks long-term Real Madrid stay

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MADRID: Real Madrid play­maker Isco insists he wants to stay at “the best club in the world” despite being courted by Barcelona and a host of Premier League clubs.

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The Spanish international starred by scoring twice, including a 90th minute winner, as a much-changed Madrid side remained three points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 3-2 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

“I am at the best team in the world, there is no bigger team than Madrid and I feel fortunate,” said Isco. “I want to stay here for a long time.”

The 24-year-old is out of contract at the end of next season, which has reportedly sparked the interest of Madrid’s rivals Barca.

And despite 10 goals in all competitions this season he remains a fringe player with coach Zinedine Zidane preferring a midfield three of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

“You know what I think of Isco, he is a player I like a lot and his place is here,” said Zidane.

“There are 24 players and it will always be unfair for those that don’t play.

“That is the difficult part of this job, leaving very good players on the bench.”

Isco was one of nine changes Zidane made to his starting line-up with the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich on Tuesday in mind.

However, even without the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, Real for the umpteenth time this season found a late winner to remain on course for a first La Liga title in five years.

And Zidane rejected suggestions Real have got lucky with their late shows this season.

“There is no such thing as luck in football, it is down to hard work and effort in every game,” continued the Frenchman.

“You have to make your own luck. With the team we have we can cause damage to any team.

“It is in our DNA to fight until the end at Real Madrid and today we pulled it off.”

Isco also hailed Madrid’s DNA to fight till the end, but accepted the European champions made life difficult for themselves against relegation threatened Sporting.

“We didn’t control the game like we should have,” he added.

“They went ahead on two occasions, but this is the spirit of Real Madrid and we have shown it once more.

“It is in the DNA of this shirt and this badge, we have shown it so many times and again today. Until the referee blows the full-time whistle it is not over.”

AFP

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