Isco is one of the brightest talents on the globe at the moment and he has been on Real Madrid’s books since he caught the eye of the world last season. He had a great year with Malaga, who finished 6th in La Liga and advanced to the latter rounds of the Champions League. Isco is a delightful attacking midfielder who has tricks and an eye for goal. He dips and dodges past defenders with ease, and loves to run at his marker.
His move to Real Madrid was a massive one for Los Blancos. Isco signed for Madrid for a fee of around €30m on a contract that ties him down for five years at the club. He has been compared to midfield guru Andres Iniesta and could become as big as him if he gets the chance to develop as a player and a person. Now, the big question is where will he fit? Madrid have some great options to play in the positions he plays, and it is unlikely that he could push Ozil, Ronaldo, or Di Maria out of position. With Di Maria’s future in speculation -with AS Monaco reportedly interested in the Winger - Isco could fit in there somewhere if the Argentine decides to depart Los Meringues. Here is the most likely formation that Madrid would use without Isco:
Ronaldo will not lose his position to anyone unless he picks up an injury; he could arguably be one of the best players to grace the Santiago Bernabeu pitch. Just alongside him is Ozil, the frighteningly creative German who plays in the middle of Cristiano and Angel Di Maria. These are not the only 3 players who could fight against Isco for a starting place. Kaka and Modric will also be fighting for their starting spot, and with Carlo Ancelotti on his way to link back up with Kaka (depending on the Brazilians future), maybe Kaka could improve and break in to start a handful of games.
Isco is likely to play some games next season, but in the big games, like the spectacular El Clasico, he may not start and will be favored to sit on the bench with his blanket wrapped around his legs on a cold Spanish winter night. Isco is quite a creative player and can turn a defender inside out with one twist of his body, and he can send defenders into a spiral of dizziness (see video below).
The Spaniard has the flare and technique that could make him a consistent starter in a couple of years if he is nurtured correctly and develops into a player worthy of playing for one of the most historic clubs in world football. With Madrid’s development system in younger players, he could maybe even become one of the best midfielders in the world. I cannot see how Isco can fit into the squad, but if Di Maria leaves then maybe he could be pushed out wide onto the right. Although he is more comfortable playing as a #10, it will be an uphill struggle to displace Mesut Özil, who is widely regarded as one of the best #10’s in modern football
Isco went into his first competitive game for Real Madrid against Real Betis in La Liga. He managed to play quite a good game, but Real didn’t start that way, impressively going 1-0 down against Betis. Isco had to help Madrid out twice, the first time was an assist for French striker Karim Benzema who tapped in Isco’s low cross to make it 1-1. Isco then scored a late winner for Los Blancos in the 86th minute to make it 2-1 to Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Marcelo delivered a cross for Isco to knock it past the keeper and win it for Madrid.
The team that started the game was in a formation of 4-4-1-1, with Isco was deployed on the left hand side, pushing Cristiano Ronaldo into the center forward position with Ozil was playing out right. It’s debatable whether or not Ancelotti will play Isco week in week out because of Angel Di Maria, who is of very high quality and is a player who you could struggle to leave out of a starting XI. Ozil will most likely be one of the first names on the team sheet, so Isco will struggle to displace him from that position. It will be interesting to see what Carlo Ancelotti will do.
Written by Luke Taylor