Isco 21 Midfielder Real Madrid Spain
2013 has been…
Last season, Isco was the undoubted star of Malaga’s incredible run into the Champions League quarter-finals. He was untouchable through some games as the Spanish side impressed many with their play. But for an incredible three minutes of panic from Borussia Dortmund to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Isco may well have helped Malaga to a memorable semi-final victory over Real Madrid; the club that snagged him for €30 million over the summer.
Isco’s level of performance in the Champions League made sure he wasn’t going to stay Malaga for too long, despite their Champions League appearance. Following the departure of Santi Cazorla to Arsenal, Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, to give him his full name, was played consistently in his preferred central position. He thrived.
And as he thrived, it became clear that Isco wouldn’t allow himself to remain at Malaga any longer that he needed to. He remains a highly ambitious player and aware that he belongs to be playing for the biggest and best teams in the world. At Valencia, he ensured Malaga paid his ludicrously cheap release clause of just €6 million so he could move. Isco was fed up of being overlooked for first team chances and ensured he got league football elsewhere.
With Malaga’s rich owner having pulled out the majority of their funding to the club and the timing of wages becoming something of a worry, it was clear that the Spanish star would not let the interest of Real Madrid pass by without him sorting his move.
As has become the norm for Spanish playmakers of late, Isco is a lovely player. Neat control, smooth passing and comfortable playing on either flank as well as through the middle, he got off to the perfect start at Bernabeu. He netted four times in his first three league appearances in front of the rampant Madrid fans, showcasing his incredible ability to appear like he is floating through games on a breeze at the same time. The bright start has slowed a little but his immediate impact went some way in relaxing the fears of Los Blancos fans that had seen Mesut Özil depart the club in the final hours of the transfer window.
Being quite small, there is always a worry that Isco could be kicked out of games. Thankfully, he is on the mentality to keep coming back for more and robust enough to shrug off the knocks. His desire to succeed takes over and helps him through the toughest of matches.
After a pretty good 2012, 2013 has been something special. He was majestic in the league and Champions League and ensured his reputation to soared by shining in June’s UEFA European Under-21 Championships with a string of truly wonderful performances befitting of a playmaker with many more years’ experience in their craft. Five months after a pretty big transfer into one of the biggest clubs in the world, Isco is bedding in rather nicely. He’s not playing each and every game but with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo as teammates; rotation will be par for the course. It doesn’t hurt that a certain Zinedine Zidane is on the training pitches every day passing on his experience to the 21 year-old.
While he hasn’t played every minute for Madrid so far this season, Isco is a 21 year-old rubbing shoulders with the games’ two most expensive players ever. And he’s doing a more than decent job of standing up and being counted as an important part of their team on pretty much every appearance. Two goals in two starts in the Champions League prove he is stepping up in the bigger games for the next head coach and will improve his chances for the World Cup.
Isco has turned out in a Spain shirt for the under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19, under-20, under-21 and under-23 teams. Earlier this year, he played his first minutes for the senior team in a friendly and will now be aiming towards earning a place in the squad for this summer’s festival of football in Brazil. He could even force his way into the starting XI for Spain’s clash with the Netherlands as they open the group with a clash of juggernauts. In short, Isco is just about the most exciting young player in Spain.
""He's made for the biggest stage." I wrote on these very pages in the 2012 edition and it's that exact stage he's now on. A fine end to Málaga's campaign coupled with a starring role alongside Thiago at the Euro U-21's earned him a move to Real Madrid. Beautiful on the ball, learning all the time off it. Isco isn't just the future anymore, he's the present too." - David Cartlidge, Spanish football expert
"Isco created more chances for his teammates (19) during the UEFA Under-21 Championships than any other player at the tournament." - Opta
A Has helped Real Madrid fans forget about Mesut Özil much quicker than they will have expected