Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric, who has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid, has been warned he may not be sold this month.
Chelsea have also shown interest in Modric, but Madrid are widely seen as the huge favourites to win the race to sign the 26-year-old should he eventually get his move away from Spurs, with reports in the last week suggesting personal terms have already been agreed.
Los Blancos are yet to agree a fee with Spurs for the Croatia international, however, with the north London club refusing to sell unless their £40million valuation is met.
And Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has warned Modric that he needs to prepare to return to the first team if he is not allowed to leave White Hart Lane.
"He's training alone," said Villas-Boas.
"We decided to do that until his mental state is ready to return to the team.
"It is important that, in the coming days, he understands he must return to the first team."
He added: "We respect the player's ambition, but he must also respect the club."
Madrid are believed to have failed with several bids in the past few weeks.
And AVB added: "Until we receive a suitable offer for the player, he will not go.
"The contacts we have had with other clubs have not met with what Tottenham wants for the player.
"We respect the size of Madrid and the other interested clubs, but they must respect what we are doing too."