La Liga: Rumours of Isco's imminent exit from Real Madrid are all 'lies', says coach Zidane
'Isco is a very good player. It is a lie, and I am answering in order to put an end to this,' Zidane said.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has branded a report saying he wants to sell Spain midfielder Isco as "lies".
"I have full faith in my team. I am one of those people who, when I start something, I go with it to the death. I believe in what I do, and I want Isco to stay here his whole life," Zidane said at a press conference on Friday ahead of this weekend's home clash with Real Sociedad in La Liga.
"Isco is a very good player. It is a lie, and I am answering in order to put an end to this," added the Frenchman of the Spanish media report which claimed he had asked Real president Florentino Perez to find a buyer for the 25-year-old at the end of this campaign.
That has led to inevitable speculation in England that Isco — who came off the bench for Gareth Bale and scored Real's second goal in their 2-2 draw at Levante last weekend — could be bound for the Premier League.
"We have 25 players and everyone is important. Perhaps Isco won't play every game but I am counting on him," said Zidane.
His team are currently fourth in La Liga ahead of Saturday's match at the Santiago Bernabeu, which serves first and foremost as a rehearsal for next Wednesday's crunch Champions League last 16, first leg at home to Paris Saint-Germain.
The reigning Spanish and European champions are no longer in the running to defend their title in La Liga, in which they have won just two of their last six games and sit 19 points behind leaders Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand.
"I don't need any reassurance. Tomorrow (Saturday) is a very important league game, and we want to keep picking up points and get closer to the top of the table, without thinking about Wednesday when we know we have a huge game," Zidane added.
"Consistency has been our problem this season, but over the course of a season bad things can happen. We don't know how the season will finish but we still believe we can do very good things."
Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Chelsea in last week's first leg at Valdebebas.
Champions League semi-finals preview: PSG looking for big away result; Real Madrid hope to cash-in on Chelsea's misses
Ahead of the second-leg fixtures, let's take a quick look at the major talking points from the UEFA Champions League semi-finals:
This weekend, Barcelona are at home to Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid host Sevilla with six points separating the top four. If this title race needed more drama, the fixture list has provided it.