Isco once again between a rock and a hard place


The good understanding the BBC showed at Mestalla and the two hammerings handed out since going back to a 4-3-3 leave the Malagueño with no place in the starting line-up

After reaching the category of world-class player totally on his own merit owing to his tremendous form in the latter stages of last season, Isco is once again in a delicate situation. The Málaga-born player found a place for himself in the 4-4-2 diamond in which Zidane handed him continuous appearances during Gareth Bale’s absence. Isco himself said that the formation benefitted him enormously. 

“The boss is playing me in my place”, the Spain international said on numerous occasions last season. Real Madrid found great balance in their midfield, and the excellent level shown by Casemiro, Kroos and Modric allowed Isco to play with a lot of freedom over all the attacking line. This role meant he was constantly involved in play and his talent and the magic he has in his feet did the rest to make the difference.

Things have changed this season, though. The results have not been coming, and throughout the whole of the first round of the season Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo did not coincide in the line-up. Now they have. The fact that the team have handed out two thrashings in a row and that Zidane has gone back to playing a 4-3-3 formation means that there are now doubts about how much of a role there is for Isco.

If Zidane decides to carry on with the BBC -and the performances in the last two games make it clear that he would logically do that, at least at this juncture-, Isco would only have the chance to go into the team as a replacement for Modric or Kroos, where he would be more anchored down and, tactically, Real Madrid would not play in the automatic way that they usually do with the first-choice midfield pairing.

The visit to the Ciutat de València will be another opportunity for Isco to claim his place in the side, though it seems likely that, as was the case before, he is going to have to earn that in the minutes he gets when he is brought off the bench.