Manchester City may have missed out on Isco but by the attacking midfielder staying in Spain to sign for Real Madrid, he has given Carlo Ancelotti’s side the initiative to mount a much more serious challenge for the La Liga title this year.
Manuel Pellegrini has seen the 21 year grow from strength to strength after spotting his potential at Valencia.
The Chilean got the job at Málaga in the same month Isco made his first team debut. The midfielder started in Valencia’s 4th round second leg match against third tier side UD Logroñés in the Copa del Rey.
His side won 4-1, with Isco getting on the score sheet twice. His goals were spectacular. The first, plucked from the air in the box, where he then swivelled and fired into the bottom corner. His second was even better. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box and weaved past four players before slotting past the opposing ‘keeper.
Despite this and the fact he continued to score goals for fun in Valencia’s B team, the midfielder was not offered a new contract, allowing Málaga to trigger his €6 million release cause.
What followed were two successful seasons in southern Spain, which saw his stock continue to rise. By the end of 2012, he was voted La Liga Breakthrough Player of the year and European Golden Boy.
Last season, he missed just one match in La Liga where he scored nine goals. He was also an integral part of the side which reached the quarter finals of the Champions League. He now has the chance to make waves in Europe once more but this time at the disposal of a club where reaching the quarter finals is not enough.
At Real Madrid he will have the world’s eyes on him. The critics’ expectations have risen and Isco will have to up his game to succeed in Madrid.
But the youngster will surely thrive on the additional attention. He has the ability to be confident. His performances in this summer’s European Under 21 Championships show that.
Ancelotti certainly needs him too. Real Madrid’s rather lackluster attempt at retaining their La Liga last season has seen the new manager spend big in order to make sure it does not happen again.
Isco will be able to help in the creativity department behind Cristiano Ronaldo after Luka Modric’s debut season in Spain failed to excite anyone. Add this to an inconsistent Kaka, it meant Mesut Özil had a lot of work to complete last season. The introduction of Isco will take some of the weight off the German’s shoulders and will also give the Portuguese superstar much needed support. This will hopefully decrease the side’s reliance on Ronaldo who at times last season carried the side.
Asier Illarramendi has also been brought in by Ancelotti from Real Sociedad. The defensive midfielder linked up well with Isco in the under 21s this season and this will be a theme which Italian will hope to continue.
Of course, the new signings won’t guarantee success at Real Madrid with their fierce rivals bringing in a certain big signing of their own in the form of Neymar but they were certainly what was missing at the Bernabéu last year.