Spain are great with or without Isco, boasts Lopetegui
Julen Lopetegui has so much talent at his disposal that he believes Spain are a "great team" regardless of whether Real Madrid star Isco is available or not.
Isco has really come into his own in 2017, seeing off the competition of James Rodriguez to become a key player at club level in Madrid, while also converting that form on to the international stage.
Eight of the playmaker's 10 LaLiga goals last season came after the turn of the year, while he has added another four in 11 appearances this term for Zinedine Zidane's men.
The 25-year-old also has five goals in eight Spain games this year, with Isco set to go to next year's World Cup as one of the players to watch.
Despite Isco's immense form, Lopetegui insists that even without him Spain are a formidable team, a hypothesis which shall be put to the test against World Cup hosts Russia on Tuesday, with the midfielder out with a knock.
OFFICIAL | Isco to miss Russia match https://t.co/UEYbm34U22-- Seleccin Espaola de Ftbol (@SeFutbol) November 12, 2017
"Isco is a revered player in a great state of form," Lopetegui said at his pre-match news conference.
"But we have always talked about functioning as a collective, which is what benefits individuals.
"For us, all the players are the main players. We look at everyone in the same way.
"I'm sure a good team will come out. With him or without Isco, we will be a great team."
As for Tuesday's hosts, Lopetegui expects them to approach the match in as serious a manner as they can due to a lack of competitive matches, and he has no doubt that Russia the talent to threaten.
Lopetegui said: "Russia, besides being the host, is an excellent team.
"With the nuance that they are not playing official [competitive] games, take each friendly match as if it was [competitive]. They will take us to the limit in an attempt to win.
"Historically they have always had great players and this team has very good players on a technical and physical level.
"These days if they do not leave Russia, it is because of their league is powerful and economically strong. We will have to have a great game to compete against them."