Real Madrid: Isco can rise under pressure this season

Real Madrid, Isco (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Isco (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Isco hasn’t played the full 90 minutes in a game for Real Madrid this season, but fans shouldn’t be surprised if he returns to his best when given the opportunity.

Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco was one of the team’s most impressive players earlier in 2020. He was a standout in wins over Osasuna and Barcelona, and he had some strong performances this summer after football returned.

But in 2020-2021, Isco has found it difficult to obtain playing time. The 28-year-old hasn’t made an appearance in the Champions League, and he has three starts and three bench appearances in La Liga for a total of 261 minutes.

Isco has been mired in transfer rumors again, including links to Everton since Carlo Ancelotti already acquired James Rodriguez. And James has flourished with the resurgent Premier League side.

We’ve heard the Isco transfer rumors before. Last season at around this same time, there were rumors that Isco could be sold to a Premier League side in January.

And what happened?

Isco turned his season around. He was excellent in the Spanish Supercup against Valencia and then went on to have big performance after big performance, solidifying himself as a key player with his display in El Clasico.

Since then, Isco has faded from the lineup, and Real Madrid know they need to give Martin Odegaard starts when he’s healthy. Odegaard is the future of the team, whereas Isco is 28 and a known commodity.

While Madridistas have been quick to criticize Isco as an underperforming player, the reality is that rumors of his decline are exaggerated. It’s easy to forget since the season has felt like it’s been longer than just two months old, but Isco was a game-changing sub in the 3-2 win over Real Betis. And even in the disastrous loss to Cadiz, he was the one man trying to make things happen with the ball at his feet, winning four dribbles, per

Isco is someone fans can back to rebound, because he did the same thing last season. The Andalusian midfielder started the 2019-2020 campaign as an afterthought on the bench, but in the second half of the season, he was a valuable part of the rotation and helped Real Madrid claim their 34th league title.

If Isco doesn’t step up his performance or is viewed as a surplus to goods, he could easily be sold in the summer 2021 transfer window. That’s a distinct possibility. And if Real like Odegaard and their other attacking midfielders and get a good offer for Isco, they could sell him and let him flourish somewhere else. That’s all quite likely.

But it is also possible for Isco to prove he stays at Real Madrid by putting in some more big performances when Zidane calls his name. Zidane valued Isco greatly in 2019-2020 and in the past. Even if it sometimes doesn’t seem like he’s in Zidane’s good graces, we have to remember that Zidane has always favored Isco. And for good reason.

There are so many matchups where Isco makes the difference. He is great at using his skill to carry the ball and create chances in the final third. Isco is one of the finest dribblers in the world and can be impossible to take the ball off of. Sometimes he holds onto the ball for too long, but the positives of Isco’s dribbling outweigh the negatives.

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Isco knows he’s under pressure to perform. If he doesn’t take advantage of every opportunity and impress Zidane on the training ground, he’s likely facing. a transfer at the end of the year. But a sale in January? That’s not wise for Real Madrid, because at fourth in the league table, Isco is a potential spark they need to win the title. Just like he was last year. And since he’s done it before, I wouldn’t bet against Isco to deliver another strong second half of the season in 2020-2021.