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Real Madrid and the wasted talent of Isco

  • Real Madrid have failed to utilize Isco to his best of abilities and his fall from grace is certainly a loss for football.
Modified 27 Sep 2016, 21:07 IST
Isco Real Madrid
Isco has fallen by the wayside after a grand start to his Real Madrid career

All the talk right now is about Marco Asensio. According to former Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, he is the best young Spanish talent in the world of football right now. And that is all but apparent. After 5 starts with the club, he already has 3 goals to his name and his best is yet to come.

This story arc is somewhat similar to that of another highly talented that Real Madrid signed in 2013. That said player, according to a group of respected journalists who voted for the Golden Boy 2012, was not only the best young Spanish player but the best talent in the world that year.

And why wouldn’t they think that?

The Rise of Isco Roman Alarcon Suarez

Isco Alarcon was the crown jewel of Spanish football, desecrating teams with the sheer force of his will both in La Liga and Malaga’s debut season in the Champions League. Back then, Malaga owners promised something beautiful, that we were on the cusp of witnessing a third horse in La Liga.

All that failed, however, and how that happened is a story for another day. As for Isco, he moved to Real Madrid and fans fell in love with him instantly.  

Despite being the Blancos’ top scorer of all time, fans at the Bernabeu don’t think twice before booing Cristiano Ronaldo after a bad game. However, when Isco weaved his magic in the initial games, the fans began chanting his name like a holy mantra initiated by a Tantric.

It was only fitting. The Bernabeu has been a home to many stars. Some of the greatest players of all time have graced the pitch at the Bernabeu and most of them were foreigners. However, there were quite a few Spaniards too.

Also read: 5 modern day legends who rejected big money moves to stay at their beloved clubs

Raul is still considered as the greatest legend of the club. Similarly, Guti, with all his flaws, is still a revered figure among Madridistas. Hence, when Isco Roman Alarcon Suarez introduced himself with a bang, it created waves among the fanbase. He could be our next best Spaniard; “one of our own” thought the Madridistas.


And if the initial games were anything to go by, he looked destined for greatness; ordained to etch his name among the legends of Los Blancos. Playing as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1, his performances ousted Mesut Ozil—an indispensable player before his arrival—out of the club.

The Malagan scored and assisted Real Madrid to a 2-1 win against Real Betis in his debut game. He then went on to score twice against Athetic Bilbao, but Carlo Ancelotti had something else in mind; something that would eventually bring the much coveted La Decima to the club.

The fall of Isco

Switching to a 4-3-3 with Xabi Alonso, Luka and Angel di Maria in the midfield three, Isco found opportunities hard to come by. And when it did, he had to play in an unnatural position in central midfield.

And the former Valencia starlet wasn’t all that bad. He did well, but not as good as what was promised.

For one, he didn’t have the tenacity and relentlessness of Angel di Maria, nor did he possess Xabi Alonso’s fine ball-spraying and tempo-keeping abilities. Finally, he also lacked Modric’s guile as a central midfielder.

This is not to say that Isco is a lesser player. In fact, what Isco can do as a number 10 only a very few can even think of. However, the words to look out for here is: “number 10.”

Ever since Carlo Ancelotti shifted the formation 4-3-3, Real Madrid haven’t reverted back to the double-pivot that Jose Mourinho deployed during his time. This has automatically led to Isco finding no place in the starting XI.

And even when he does, it is in a role that doesn’t utilize his abilities to the fullest.

The waste of Isco

With a plethora of talents at Real Madrid, opportunities will be much harder to come by for the former Golden Boy. Marco Asensio’s rise and James Rodriguez’s slow surge back to form means that Isco will have to spend more time on the sidelines.

As a 24-year-old, this is the worst thing that could happen to a supremely talented footballer. Isco is a player who can split defences with neat through balls or beat the goalkeeper with composed finishes when he is in his zone. The way he bamboozles past defenders is also a sight to behold.

Sadly, however, that spectacle is a rarity these days.

Real Madrid have been labeled as the graveyard of talents in the past. While this might be an exaggerated claim, if Isco were to not reach his potential, then Los Merengues will have to share the burden of wasting his talent.

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Published 27 Sep 2016, 20:42 IST
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