The former Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Isco has claimed that Sevilla‘s ex-director of football Monchi — now Aston Villa‘s president of football operations — assaulted him during a tense confrontation at the club’s training ground.
Isco, 31, who is currently without a club, left Sevilla in December 2022 just five months after joining from Madrid.
In an interview with the newspaper Marca published on Tuesday, the playmaker said that his departure was sparked by a furious row with Monchi — who left Sevilla for Villa last month — in which the executive “grabbed [Isco] by the throat.”
“As the [January transfer window] approached, I saw a lot of strange things within the club,” Isco said. “They called my agent to look for a move, without talking to me first. When I found out, I went to speak to Monchi directly. I said ‘Hey, I heard about this. I don’t know if you want me or not… Be honest with me, and we’ll sort it out.’
“After that conversation, Monchi was telling everyone that I wanted to leave, which wasn’t true. He started calling me every day, me and my agent, bothering us to sign the termination [of the contract]. So I went and spoke to him again and I said ‘Look Monchi, you’re not being honest with me… I want to stay and you’re saying I want to go.’
“I told him he was the biggest liar I’d come across in the world of football, and he assaulted me. He went for me, grabbed me by the neck, and we had to be separated. After that I didn’t want to carry on there under any circumstances.”
Sevilla told ESPN that they would not be commenting on the claims. Aston Villa have also been approached for comment.
Monchi, whose full name is Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, spent 21 years as Sevilla’s director of football over two spells, earning a reputation as one of football’s shrewdest talent spotters.
“It was a shame, because I had a great relationship with my teammates and the fans treated me really well,” Isco said. “But I couldn’t be happy at a club where the sporting director assaulted me and nobody said anything, not even an apology. Not for the assault, or for all the lies that were being leaked.
“So I cancelled my contract and I left… I’m aware that Monchi and the club were in a difficult moment, but crossing the line of violence is something I couldn’t allow to happen.”
Isco spent nine years at Real Madrid — winning five Champions Leagues and three league titles — before joining Sevilla on a free transfer in August 2022.
He played just 12 LaLiga games for the Andalusian club, scoring no goals, before leaving by mutual consent.
He has since been without a club after a January move to Union Berlin broke down, with the player citing last-minute changes to the terms of the deal.
“[I’m looking for] a project where I can have continuity, a team that wants to play football with a fun, possession style,” he said. “I’m in a moment of my career where, after winning everything, I want to enjoy myself.
“I’ll never prioritise money, if not I wouldn’t have gone to Sevilla. I have and I’ve had a lot of offers from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, for large sums, but I want to play, to compete and have fun.”