La Liga 2016/17: Bernabeu crowd boos Zinedine Zidane's decision to substitute Isco against Athletic Bilbao
Given the riches available to Real Madrid, key players at the club can soon turn into squad players within a season and that has been the case with Isco. The former Malaga man, who has had a fruitful time at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining them in 2012, now has to earn his place in the first team under Zinedine Zidane.
While the Spaniard has been grounded in his assessment of the situation thus far, his sporadic usage by Zidane has fuelled rumors that he might be on his way out of the club soon.
The situation with regards to the player turned sour on Sunday evening when Zidane decided to substitute Isco for Lucas Vazquez in the 64th minute. The Real Madrid fans were disappointed with the substitution and reacted by booing the action of their manager to bring off their best player.
However, his manager Zinedine Zidane has defended his decision to substitute the player, mentioning that the decision to replace Isco was down to tactics rather than a reflection of the player’s performance in the game. “The substitution was tactical, and not a reflection on Isco's performance. We wanted to play with four in midfield and two upfront, and we also wanted some stability in the middle of the pitch.”
Isco was one of the best Madrid players on the night, creating the opening goal for Karim Benzema and creating two more chances during his time on the pitch. He constantly beat the Malaga players with his skill on the ball and probed the Bilbao defence with his movement.
However, what impressed us most about the player was his defensive contribution to the side, a facet of his game that has come under the scanner in the past and we, like a number of Madrid fans believe he should have been provided more playing time against Bilbao, especially with the kind of shift he put in.
Real Madrid go top of La Liga
Real Madrid moved atop the La Liga table courtesy of a hard-fought win over Athletic Bilbao and had to rely on a late strike from substitute Alvaro Morata to extend their unbeaten run in the league.
The side led through an early Karim Benzema goal and were expected to be heading towards yet another easy win. However, their defensive ineptitude came to the forefront yet again as the side allowed the away side to score 20 minutes later. The dominance soon changed hands as Bilbao were a better team for most durations of the game and some would even go on to claim that they deserved more out of the game.
However, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane was in denial of the apparent calamity that had befallen the club and was of the opinion that Champions do not often steamroll through their opposition. The Frenchman also believed that Real Madrid were not going to stroll to the La Liga title and his team did well to beat a tough side on the evening.
"There are no easy games in the league so we have to know how to suffer until the end. It will be like this all season long. We're happy to win and to become league leaders. It was a difficult game and my players gave everything they had. Conceding goals is also a part of football. Our rival made things difficult for us and this is something we'll try to improve on, but we're not overly concerned," Zidane told the press in his post match comments.
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