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Isco’s Summer Dilemma
- Updated: 30 March, 2014
Isco arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu as the bright young hope of Spanish football. The attacking midfielder was signed from Malaga for around €30 million, after his magnificent previous season where he helped Malaga reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
In the summer of 2012, he helped Spain’s Under-21 side win the Under-21 European Championship in Israel with some majestic performances, scoring three goals in the tournament and he was very unlucky to be beaten to the best player award by Spanish teammate Thiago. There was some consolation on a personal front for him as he was named in the Team of the Tournament composed of the 23 best players.
On the back of that, Isco was a player who was high in demand but after a tug of war with Manchester City and Isco’s former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, Real Madrid President Florentino Perez finally got his man, the poster boy of the new youthful Spanish Real Madrid.
The fresh-faced Isco made a great start to his career in the capital, slotting in behind Karim Benzema as Carlo Ancelotti used the 4-2-3-1 system. Following on from his fantastic season with Malaga, he grabbed himself a goal and an assist on his debut against Real Betis and went on continuing to play well creating goals for his teammates and adding his name to the score sheet on numerous occasions.
And when Madrid made the somewhat controversial decision to sell fans’ favourite Mesut Ozil to Arsenal, it further prised open to the door for the 21-year-old to grab his chance and establish himself as one of Ancelotti main starters. Unfortunately, for the attacking midfielder, it has not quite planned out that way.
Upon the return to the side of the injured Xabi Alonso, the change in systems from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 and the subsequent utilisation of Angel Di Maria as the third midfielder in the formation, Isco has more often than not found himself on the Bernabeu Bench. The fear that Isco wouldn’t adapt from being a big fish in a relatively small pond at Malaga to just another Carp in the Real Madrid fish pool, has to date become a reality.
The move to the Bernabeu certainly hasn’t continued his development or his hopes of making it into the squad for the World Cup in the summer.
Being used in a rotation system is the best hope of Isco seeing some playing time between now and the end of the season. But is that enough to satisfy the hugely ambitious Isco going forward?
There is a massive summer ahead for him, Madrid are almost certain to add strength and depth to their squad and if that leaves Isco further down the pecking order, what does he do? Stay and fight for his place as a squad player at the Bernabeu or does he make it known he wishes to leave to play regular first-team football and realise his fantastic potential.
If after just one season Isco does decide that he needs to leave the Bernabeu, there is little doubt that he will have a plethora of top-class clubs after his signature. This summer will certainly be an important one for Isco and his representatives, most notably his father, and while he will be faced with a difficult quandary, it is one that could shape the rest of his career.
Could Manchester City be the one that got away?