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Isco warned he 'must work' to earn Real Madrid spot

Real Madrid vice-captain Marcelo has called on teammate Isco to knuckle down and work hard after being dropped by coach Santi Solari.

Spain international and four-time Champions League winner Isco was not even on the bench for Tuesday's 2-0 Group G win at Roma, and Solari refused to explain his omission beyond saying it had been a "sporting decision."

Isco looked unhappy as he arrived at the Stadio Olimpico pregame, and confirmed afterwards "there is no physical problem" as he walked through the mixed zone without stopping.

Marcelo did stop to speak to reporters after the victory which ensured Madrid won the group, and said it was up to Isco himself to correct a "mistake" and improve the situation.

"I'm not the one to give advice," he said. "We are grown-ups, fathers with families, we know what we have to do. All players want to play, but we need to work. It is the same with all players. You must work. I'm not saying he is not working, but football is like this. To see that you are making a mistake and improve."

Isco began the season in the Madrid side under previous coach Julen Lopetegui, who was a big backer of the former Malaga player when they were both together in Spain's national team set-up, until he was sidelined by an appendix problem in late September.

The 26-year-old's first start on his return to fitness was in the 5-1 Clasico defeat at Barcelona, which was Lopetegui's final game in charge. He has not been in the XI for any of Solari's six games, getting just 82 minutes of game time in total.

Asked about the situation on Movistar TV after the game, Madrid director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno said that "these are technical decisions which are for Solari to take, we do not get into them."

Solari told the postmatch news conference that he made his selection decisions based solely on sporting criteria.

"These are calls that you make in a certain moment," he said. "We are here to do that, nothing else. It was a sporting decision, nothing else. There are no starters, or substitutes, in football. It is up to all players to be at 100 percent, so the coaches pick them."

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