Isco rise and fall | sports



Isco on the bench against Leganes. In video, statements by Real Madrid coach, Santiago Hernán Solari, on January 2. Getty Images | Video: Europa Press

The fall of Isco Alarcón coincided with his best moment. In the summer of 2018 he added to his enormous popularity the recognition of his coaches. In all fields. First in the selection, where Fernando Hierro put him at the head of the team in the middle of the World Cup, even at the expense of sitting Iniesta on the bench; then, at Real Madrid, where Julen Lopetegui placed him at the head of the project. In both cases, with disastrous effects.

Hierro succumbed to the World Cup in the round of 16, in one of the worst matches that are remembered in Spain. Lopetegui entered the book of records as the most quickly dismissed coach in the history of Madrid. The Basque led 14 games, won six, lost six and tied two with an unprecedented balance of 21 goals in favor and 20 against. Lopetegui was the first coach who fully trusted Isco. The best match of his ephemeral cycle was Isco's best match: 3-0 at Roma.

When on Wednesday Chendo tried to pat him on the back, Isco, who saw him coming from the corner of his eye, made the equivalent of a cut: he bent down to pull up his stockings.

The delegate of Madrid, who signaled the change for Lucas in the 71st minute of the Copa match against Leganes, accompanied the Málaga player to the pitch as if to comfort him on the trip to the underworld. They were watching 40,000 fans attracted by the morbid. Formerly idol of the Real Madrid, the boy is in the course of a metamorphosis that has transformed him into substitute for Vinicius and Fede Valverde.

Great promise of Spanish football since 2013, Isco moved in the field of paradox. Among fans and journalists enjoyed the status of superjugador; but his coaches scrutinized him suspiciously. Ancelotti confessed that he did not know how to fit him into the BBC scheme; Benitez did not bet especially for him; and Del Bosque did not take him to the Eurocup in France. For his part, Zidane put him in quarantine for a season, so that in 2016 the man confessed in Brand: "I'm not stupid, if I'm not a starter with Ancelotti, Benítez and Zidane it's my fault".

Isco's conclusion is justified in light of the comparative statistics of Madrid midfielders in the last decade. He averages one goal every 345 minutes and one assist every 305. His numbers are lower than James's (one goal every 202 minutes and one assist every 182), Kaka (one goal every 239 minutes and one assist every 178), Di Maria ( one goal every 345 minutes and one assist every 146) and Özil (one goal every 421 minutes and one assist every 142).

Today is less than a substitute. It is indicated. The fracture with his trainer, Santiago Solari, does not stop opening. It began when the technician chose Lucas for the only position that was left free, according to the list of players appointed in November for their strategic priority by the leaders. In order of preference: Bale, Benzema, Kroos, Asensio, Modric and Vinicius should be protected.

The contrast with young people

The gap widened with the parties. Solari proved that Isco's actions did not improve the team. Against Valladolid entered by Casemiro in the 56th minute and Madrid was at the mercy of the rival until the 1-0 of Oliva in own goal; against Eibar came through Modric with 3-0 against and the agony was not alleviated; before the Huesca entered by Modric and the team finished asking for the hour; in La Cerámica replaced Bale in the break with the favorable score and Villarreal equalized; and against Real Sociedad he replaced Casemiro in the 56th minute, with 0-1 against, and Madrid ended up defeated 2-0 and with one player sent off. Against CSKA, Isco played the 90 minutes for the first time with the new coach and Madrid fell 3-0, the worst defeat suffered at the Bernabéu in European competitions.

Week by week, Solari exposed a scenario that proved him right. In contrast to the atony of Isco, the technician promoted the young people to form a new battery of alternatives that more than compensate for the marginalization of the figure. The flight of Odriozola, Reguión, Llorente, Valverde and Vinicius has been the great contribution of the technician and his first endorsement in the eyes of the board and the fans who observe the transition without making sharp judgments.

Haughty even to treat Zidane, the playmaker does not flinch at the authority. When on Thursday Sergio Ramos was asked if the broken relationship between Isco and Solari could be repaired, the captain replied coldly. "It's complicated," he said, "at Madrid everybody wants to play and that decision-making by the coach is complicated."



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