Sevilla director Monchi has downplayed the club’s interest in Real Madrid star Isco despite admitting that he and manager Julen Lopetegui ‘like’ him.

Speaking during an interview, as quoted by Tribal Football, Sevilla chief Monchi admitted that he and manager Julen Lopetegui both admire Real Madrid midfielder Isco, but insisted that there is nothing in the rumours linking him to the Andalusian outfit.

Isco has entered the final few months of his contract at Real Madrid. Having fallen down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Spanish international is widely expected to depart on a free transfer at the end of the ongoing campaign.

There has been no shortage of interest in the former Malaga prodigy, with several clubs within Spain and outside showing a keenness to sign him in a Bosman deal. However, recent reports have claimed that Sevilla are leading the race for Isco’s capture, having already struck an agreement with the player over a free transfer in the summer.

Responding to the speculation, Monchi has now insisted that Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui admires Isco but refused to comment on the transfer links. “I haven’t heard Julen say that he loves Isco,” Monchi said. “He has said that he is a good player. And if you ask me, I’ll tell you he’s a good player. Lopetegui likes Isco and so do I, but there’s nothing.”

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Lopetegui has worked with Isco previously at the club and international level. The Spanish playmaker was an ever-present figure in the national team when Lopetegui was in charge leading up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Isco was also a regular in the lineup when the current Sevilla manager was briefly at the helm at Real Madrid in 2018.

Whether a reunion does materialise in the summer remains to be seen. As things stand, though, Isco looks primed to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season. The 29-year-old has made 350 appearances for the club since 2013 and has directly contributed to 109 goals (53 goals, 56 assists).

A move to Sevilla, where he will join forces with a manager who trusts him, could be the right way to go about things for Isco as he looks to reignite his stagnated career and get back into the thinking of Spain manager Luis Enrique before the World Cup towards the end of the year.

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