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20th Jun 2018

Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic ‘asks to leave’ the European champions

Kovacic wants out

Simon Lloyd

It’s a summer of change at Real Madrid. This much, we knew already

Days after landing the club’s third Champions League title on the spin, Zinedine Zidane announced he was stepping down. He was replaced last week, by Spain boss Julen Lopetegui.

As it turns out, it appears Zidane might not be the only one departing the Bernabeu, with one of his former players also asking to leave.

No, not him. And not him, either.

In actual fact, reports from Spain claim Mateo Kovacic has asked if he can move on this summer, frustrated by a lack of playing time.

Signed by Rafa Benitez from Inter Milan three years ago, the 24-year-old’s opportunities have been limited during his time in Spain, where he has been unable to get ahead of the likes of fellow Croatian Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the midfield pecking order. This, a report by Sport claims, is why he has asked to leave.

Despite Kovacic’s wishes to move on, the report also adds that this is unlikely to happen. Following the appointment of Lopetegui, Real are hoping to keep their squad together and his request to leave is expected to be met with a flat no.

Lopetegui was officially unveiled as Real manager earlier in the week, although was expected to be in charge of the Spanish national side for the World Cup in Russia.

The announcement that he would be Zidane’s replacement was made just minutes after the Spanish football federation were informed of his plans, something newly appointed president Luis Rubiales deemed unacceptable. As a result, he was dismissed on the eve of the tournament, two days before Spain’s opener with Portugal.

Kovacic is currently with the Croatian squad in Russia, coming on as a second half substitute in their opening game against Nigeria which they won 2-o.