Second choice to Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, competing also with Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente, Mateo Kovacic has grown disillusioned with life at the European champions and has repeatedly expressed a desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite meeting with Julen Lopetegui on Friday, as per MARCA, the World Cup runner up has his heart set on a move away in search of first team football.
"I understand the situation, but that's why I think it's best for me to go to another club where I will have the chance to play regularly as a starter," the 24-year-old explained. "It's an opportunity I think I can have and I want it now."
His announcement has put clubs - namely Juventus, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City - on alert given the £44 million release clause in his contract. But where's next for the Croatian?