Real Madrid: 5 burning questions from the 1-0 win over Atalanta

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Real Madrid, Isco
Real Madrid, Isco (Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

How did Isco fare up top?

Real Madrid surprised us by starting Isco in the middle as a “false nine” instead of sticking with Mariano Diaz, who was, quite frankly, underwhelming again in the weekend fixture against Real Valladolid. Mariano came into the match in the 56th minute for Vinicius Junior (we’ll get to that), but he did not make much of an impact at the end either.

Isco had a rare chance to impress in the Real starting XI, as he has not played often this season. The 28-year-old requested a transfer this winter that Real were unable to accept, though they did loan Martin Odegaard to Arsenal. So, naturally, Madridistas have been hoping that Isco can return to form down the stretch of the season. Cynically, some fans want him to improve so that he can have more value for a summer 2021 transfer.

As a whole, Isco was OK. He had issues starting the match with his first touch and looked rusty, but he grew into the game and created a couple of great chances. His pass for Vinicius Junior was brilliant, as he produced a good opportunity from nothing.

But in the second half, Isco was dreadful. He dribbled into areas that favored the Atalanta defense and did a poor job of finding outlets. Isco was supposed to put his wide forwards in a position to succeed, but he failed to do this in the second half. He moved to the left after Mariano’s inclusion and was just as underwhelming before Hugo Duro and Sergio Arribas replaced himself and Asensio.

All told, Isco wasn’t terrible, but he didn’t do anything to improve his stock either.