CARLO Ancelotti has claimed that Isco’s place in the Real Madrid line-up is “non-negotiable” ahead of Sunday’s encounter with Villarreal in La Liga.
The attacking midfielder has flourished as a deep-lying player in Luka Modric’s absence, and the coach admits the young Spaniard has given him a selection dilemma, with the former Tottenham star close to returning from a long injury layoff.
“[Luka Modric] is not in the squad. He’s almost ready but still needs work. I’ll consider him for the match against Schalke,” he said at a press conference.
“[Sergio] Ramos and Modric both return at the most important point of the season. The squad is in good physical condition.
“[Gareth Bale] has shown a very good attitude, fighting, winning and sacrificing himself for the team.
“He gave a very important performance last week and will continue in the manner that I need him, with a positive attitude.
“It’s hard to say what position is best for [Isco] because he’s done well in any position.
“He has a defensive attitude and good positioning, but we have to use his attacking characteristics more than his defensive ones.
“[Isco’s] presence in the team is non-negotiable, if he continues to play well.
“For us, [Toni] Kroos is very important in his current position. It’d be difficult if we replaced him with a player who wasn’t used to our style.
“Lucas is an extraordinary playmaker and both accurate and quick in his passing.
“[Marcelo’s] found consistency and improved defensively. His confidence has helped the team a lot.”