Zinedine Zidane limits his appearance to a cameo in the official documentary about the conquest of the Thirteenth European Cup, produced by Real Madrid TV under the title of In the Heart of the Thirteenth. Just one minute, during the rest of the final. Hands in pockets and whispering voice, the coach slides into the middle of the locker room, gives a couple of guidelines and only corrects Isco Alarcón:
-They [el Liverpool] what they want is to wait for us to play on the foot to come and press us with their three midfielders [Henderson, Wijnaldun y Milner]. They are people who hurt us. So, what we have to do is play face to Sergio, Marcelo or Raphael, and jump the line. What I want is … Isco! A little higher, stay behind your three midfielders, between the lines … In the middle, nothing on the feet; and if we play, face and jumping lines ".
Sitting quietly, head down between the substitutes, Isco just responded with a "voucher". The thing, however, still did not like Zidane, who, after checking how Isco insisted on going down to entertain the ball in the midfield, replaced him with Bale in the 63rd minute, when the match went 1-1.
Isco He won his fourth Champions League but ended the 2017-18 season marked by Zidane and the club stopped considering him a strategic player. His current disagreement with Santiago Solari, his new coach, is only a novelty due to the degree of marginalization to which he has subjected him after giving ownership to 20 players -all with a greater number of minutes over six games- before Isco.
Solari argued "technical reasons" to send him to the stands this Tuesday in Rome, in the match in which Madrid secured the leadership of Group G of the Champions League. The justification was ordinary. The situation, however, is outside the usual channels of conflict management. It is the second time since Florentino Pérez returned to the club's presidency in 2009 that a footballer who enjoys remuneration in the top of the hairpin is discarded for "technical" reasons. The first was Kaka, whom Mourinho pushed to leave the club after a succession of physical problems.
More for sentimentality than for a quantifiable production, since his arrival in 2013 Isco secured the status of idol of the Bernabéu fans. The audience felt that this funny, daring and skillful boy could incarnate with the white shirt the successor of Iniesta and Xavi in the collective imagination of The Red. The dream of the social mass contrasted with the vision of the coaches. One of the technicians who addressed him confessed the dilemma: if he put him as midfielder he needed a goal, the band lacked overflowing, and in the middle he lacked organizational and physical qualities.
Ancelotti placed him 10th in the minute distribution in the 2013-14 season and 6th in the 2014-15 season, due to the injuries of several incumbents. In the 2015-16 season, between Benítez and Zidane placed him in the 8th position of the cast. Since then, with Zidane it was less. The French turned him into his 12th most useful player in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 courses. Now, at 26, he is the 15th man in the squad. He had never played less than ten league games at the conclusion of the 13th day: he only played in nine.
Renovation until 2022
Two seasons ago Barca offered to sign him free in January 2018. Alarmed by the danger of the loss of one of its most popular players, a year ago Madrid's leaders renewed him until 2022 putting him one of the highest salaries in the workforce , only below Ramos and Bale: seven million euros net per course. A political gesture more than sports.
Isco soon disappeared from the list of players that the club considers untouchable. Against the inertia, the interlude of Julen Lopetegui in the bench of Chamartín allowed him to feel the heat that no coach guaranteed until then, to his displeasure. Isco never repressed his defiant character. The comrades indicate that each time he was punished with the substitution, he usually reacted by making the workouts real exhibitions of freestyle: the kind of frivolities with the ball that, in the middle of the tactical exercises, bother the technicians. Something of that, according to the environment, has unleashed his touch with Solari.
"I'm not the one to give Isco advice," said Marcelo in Rome; "We are older, parents, we know what we have to do. We all want to play but we have to work ".
Isco summarizes the sports drama of a Madrid with serious difficulties of regeneration. The alignment of the first final of the Zidane Champions, in 2016, was Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos Modric; Bale, Benzema and Cristiano.
After more than three years, the essentials remain the same – in the absence of Cristiano, the most irreplaceable of all – and the secondary actors increasingly weigh less.