Spanish magician Isco holds the key for struggling Real Madrid


Written by Antonio Diaz (@antoniodiaz14)

Isco Alarcon is a Real Madrid and Spanish footballer who is recognised by many for his great technical ability and dazzling footwork. Many view him as one of the best midfielders in the world, but what people may miss is his massive importance to the Real Madrid team.

Real Madrid are the most successful club in the world and are arguably the most well known in football. For the last nine years they had arguably the best footballer in the world playing for them in Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a staggering 450 goals in 438 games which averaged at a goal every 1.03 games.

After his summer move to Italian giants Juventus, many predicted Los Blancos would struggle without their main man. In the last five years, Madrid have won four Champions League titles, winning it three years on the bounce – something never done before since the start of the competition.

This season saw Zinedine Zidane leave the club after great success in the last three years, leaving a massive hole at Madrid with two key figures leaving the club. Three days before the start of the World Cup, the Spain manager, Julen Lopetegui, was approached by Real Madrid to take up the position of first team coach – a job many couldn’t turn down. The timing, however, seemed very strange with Spain facing Portugal in just three days but Lopetegui couldn’t resist the chance to manage the best club in the world. He took the job, leaving Spain without a manager 72 hours before the start of the World Cup.

We all know what happened, but Isco however stood out at the tournament as one of the better performers.

The 2018-2019 season began – a new chapter at Real Madrid with no Ronaldo, who would often be the man to step up and guide the team to even more success, something that is demanded by the club.

Many thought a big summer signing would have to come in, with the likes of Hazard, Neymar and even Harry Kane being linked with a move to the Spanish capital. Isco was arguably overlooked as this man, even though he had demonstrated on multiple occasions how vital he is to Madrid’s success.

The season didn’t start well, with Real losing the Super Cup to bitter rivals Atletico. Critics said that without Ronaldo Madrid are nothing, but these people aren’t watching the games properly or in depth.

Players like Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale, all superstars of the game, cannot play without Ronaldo? I disagree, as a new manager and new ideas can take time to embed themselves.

As the season starts, Madrid performances and results have been good. The team are playing with swagger and style, like the Madrid we are used to. A 3-0 win at home in the Champions League against Roma even had people saying Los Blancos were playing better football then before Ronaldo, and that this new era would carry on with the recent success.

Isco again was overshadowed for his performances, just because he wasn’t scoring hattricks or unnecessarily showboating.

The Spaniard is what makes Madrid tick and what makes them look so stylish. He uses his ability to get the ball and wander past defenders like they’re not there, to help push his team forward.

His vision and awareness are also underrated. He knows when to play first time or when to take four or five touches to draw a defender in. In a game for Spain last year, when they played Italy, Marco Veratti said: “he’s harder to defend than Messi”, which shows the level of ability Isco brings to his team.

Whenever I watch Madrid play with Isco, I’m excited because I know they will play with flair and style. But without him, I feel they get stuck and they miss his magic.

‘Magic’ is the nickname Ramos and other players gave him, so they are aware that he is a key man. But why do the football supporters in general miss his enormous importance to the way Madrid work? Is it because he isn’t producing the goals Ronaldo scored? Or because he doesn’t post on social media the way other players do? It seems to me when Madrid win it’s not because Isco played a key role, but just because they are expected to.

Last month, Isco went into hospital to have an appendix operation. During his absence, Real Madrid haven’t scored a goal or won a game.

Is it just a coincidence? For me, no. Isco might not get the goals Ronaldo did, but he brings more to the team. He’s always in pockets of space to help push the team forward, and he is almost impossible to tackle with his low centre of gravity and great body strength.

Madrid have struggled for any creativity in these games with Modric and Kroos, two of the best players in the world, playing in the middle of the park. But without ‘Magica’, they lose their spark.

The Spaniard creates and does things no one else in that team can do and it doesn’t surprise me that without him they can’t create goals or win games. Thankfully for Madrid, Isco is back in training now, with the El Classico approaching on the 28th of October.

His teammates know how important he will be if he is back fit, as Isco holds the key to success this season and without him it’s unlikely Los Blancos will clinch a fourth successive Champions League title.