Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui has offered his support to players considering strike action over the prospect of moving La Liga matches to the United States.
Last week, Spain’s top flight announced a partnership with sports and entertainment company Relevent – the organiser of the International Champions Cup pre-season tournament – to stage matches on the other side of the Atlantic as part of a 15-year deal.
The Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) responded by claiming its members are “unanimous” in their opposition to the proposals, with Barcelona midfielder and the union’s vice president Sergio Busquets among those to voice concern.
Speaking ahead of Madrid’s trip to Girona on Sunday, former Spain boss Lopetegui saw no reason to break ranks.
“We are thinking about other things, but I’m in agreement with the players,” he told a news conference.
“I think they have their reasons to think what they think. It’s my opinion.
“Those who have to decide will make a decision. But if you are going to ask me for my opinion, I’m in line with what the players think.”
Of more immediate concern to Lopetegui is the conundrum of keeping two elite-level goalkeepers happy at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Keylor Navas has starred in all of Madrid’s consecutive Champions League triumphs over the past three seasons, but Thibaut Courtois arrived from Chelsea to much fanfare earlier this month.
The Belgium international has been forced to wait for his Los Blancos debut, with Navas retained for last weekend’s opening LaLiga win over Getafe.
“We haven’t defined exactly what we’re going to do,” Lopetegui said. ” We have two good keepers, some have come a bit later than others.
“We have to decide, depending on how each is doing. Whatever decision we make, we’re going to be okay because they are both good players.
“We have games coming thick and fast in the future and there will be plenty of chances for all goalkeepers.”
Madrid suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Girona last season, with the host prevailing thanks to quickfire second-half goals from Cristhian Stuani and Portu after Isco opened the scoring.