Jose Mourinho has told Ricardo Carvalho to find a new club before Friday's transfer deadline or face a season on the sidelines at Real Madrid.
The former Chelsea centre-back is in the final year of his contract and no longer features in the first-team plans of the Primera Liga champions.
Carvalho was earlier in August thought to be close to a move to Queens Park Rangers and a return to the Premier League could yet happen.
The 34-year-old has been given a clear explanation of his status by Mourinho, who he worked with at Porto and Chelsea before in 2010 joining Real.
Mourinho said ahead of Wednesday's Spanish Super Cup second leg: "It's his decision whether he wants to continue playing football or to stay at Real Madrid (for the rest of the season)."
Real in 2010 paid Chelsea a fee of £6.7million for the centre-back, who during his time at Stamford Bridge won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups.