By Ralph Chery
Real Madrid playmaker Isco refuted all negative criticisms about him again as he was nominated man of the match in his side’s 2-1 win over Manchester United in the Super Cup final on Tuesday.
According to ESPN, in 2013—towards the dying stages of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career—a Manchester United scout noted that the Spaniard wasn’t talented enough to compete for the Red Devils when he was in Malaga.
“He’s good, but not quite quick enough and his head is too big for his body,” the scout said about Isco.
In the same year of 2013, after his first season at Spain’s capital, Mail Online Football reported that Los Blancos fans wished Isco joined their rivals Barcelona instead. The 25-year-old’s style of play fits with Barcelona’s system and he had named his dog Messi before signing with Real Madrid.
Three years later—last season—ex-Madrid defender Ivan Helguera gave a negative assessment of the Spain international.
“He doesn’t give assists, he’s not good in the air, he doesn’t win the ball back,” Helguera said. “He could offer much more. What do his pieces of skill end up as?”
However Isco, who’s nicknamed “Magia” (Magic in English) by his Madrid’s teammates, was the most influential player in a final for Zinedine Zidane’s team. The midfielder scored what turned out to be the final’s decisive goal in the 52nd minute, slotting a low shot past David de Gea after exchanging a neat one-two with Gareth Bale.
Zidane expressed his desire for Isco to stay at Madrid back in February when he had a roster loaded with top-class midfielders, with the likes of James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
“I want him to renew, he is an important player,” Zidane said of his Isco in a press conference after his side’s 3-0 win over Deportivo Alaves, in which the player scored.
“He wants to stay here, to play here. I am happy with his performance, not only for the goal but for what he did between the lines, what he helped the others do.”
Isco was a regular in Zidane’s rotation amidst the superstars aforementioned, starting 29 games and coming off the bench 15 times for the Spanish champions last season. He tallied 11 goals and racked nine assists. Out of the nine games the midfielder played a full 90 in, he netted in four of them and scored six goals in total.
The Spaniard has the substantial task of replacing Andres Iniesta after he retires as soon as next year in the World Cup. Iniesta is 33 hence is likely to play limited time in the tournament.
However Isco’s stats for Spain are not as tremendous as his stats for Real. The 25-year-old hasn’t recorded an assist yet for his country this year in three appearances and only tallied three goals in 20 games for them.
Isco will look to shine again for Madrid in another final as his side travels to Camp Nou to play their rivals Barcelona in the Supercopa on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.