By Pete Jenson for MailOnline
Published: 20:00 BST, 21 September 2020 | Updated: 20:00 BST, 21 September 2020
Luka Jovic is available on loan this summer - that was the clearest conclusion to be drawn from Real Madrid's opening day 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad.
The 22-year-old Serbian international, who scored 17 goals in 32 appearances in the Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt the season before last and 10 in 14 Europa League matches, was left on the bench on Sunday night as Real Madrid's blunt attack failed to break down Real Sociedad's defence.
Zidane requested the signing of Jovic for £58million in the summer of 2019 but instead of turning to him to break the stalemate he put on 20-year-old winger Marvin Park and 18-year-old attacking midfielder Sergio Arribas. His message could not have been clearer.
Luka Jovic (left) did not come on in Real Madrid's goalless draw against Real Sociedad
Jovic joined Real Madrid - at the request of Zinedine Zidane - for £58million in summer of 2019
The Serbian striker has been left out in the cold and will be available to loan this summer
After the game Zidane said: 'I did not want to change the formation and Karim Benzema was playing well.' It was not the most convincing of explanations. Throwing Jovic on with Benzema and playing 4-4-2 looked the obvious plan B after plan A had impressed but failed to find the opening goal of the season.
Park, who was at Tranmere as a kid before moving back to Spain in his early teens and under-18 prospect Arribas are both highly thought of but once the season is in full flow they are unlikely to feature again.
This felt like a message from Zidane. He has moved on Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez and now he wants shot of someone else he does not see a future for at Real Madrid.
Zidane's decision to ship out Rodriguez, Bale and Sergio Reguilon has already come under scrutiny. Don't think Marca's headline last week: 'Zidane gets his way', was anything other than a clear message to the Madrid manager: you have given up on