Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata says he hopes to still be teammates with James Rodriguez next season, even as both players remain linked with moves away from the club this summer.
The pair were effective backups for Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane during 2016-17, with Morata scoring 20 goals in 43 appearances and Rodriguez chipping in with 11 goals and 13 assists in his 33 games across all competitions.
The situation has led to reports of interest, with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain among the teams said to be considering a bid for Rodriguez, and United, Chelsea and AC Milan regularly mentioned in relation to moves for Morata.
Speaking to Tele5 after scoring a late equaliser for Spain in Wednesday's evening's 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia in Murcia, Morata was coy over his plans but suggested he could remain at Madrid alongside Rodriguez.
"Who knows? Maybe we will be teammates next year," Morata said. "I don't know. I hope [he doesn't leave], as I like him a lot. He is a great player. And we will see what happens."
Marca claimed on Thursday morning that Zidane hoped to have both Morata and Rodriguez with him next year, with the report saying the Madrid coach was more hopeful about being able to convince the former to turn down offers from elsewhere.
Milan's new Chinese owners had reportedly been targeting Morata as a signature signing for their new regime, but the former Juventus striker sounded less keen on the idea.
"I want to be playing and to be important to the squad, particularly next year when there is the World Cup," Morata said earlier this week. "But I want to fight for my place here, I would be crazy to leave Real Madrid.
"It's hard to imagine going back to Italy, despite my experience in Serie A being extraordinary. I would like to stay at Real Madrid, and the only club for me in Italy are Juventus."
The claim from Chelsea striker Diego Costa that boss Antonio Conte was no longer counting on him for 2017-18 could open up an opportunity for Morata at Stamford Bridge, however. The 24-year-old has previously said that he was "sure that sooner or later" he would work with Conte, who persuaded him to join Juve back in 2014, but had then left Turin before they could join up.
Rodriguez looks certain to move on after being left out of the match squad completely for Madrid's 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in Cardiff, and having previously appeared to say goodbye to the Bernabeu when substituted in a La Liga win over Sevilla a few weeks earlier.