Italy were schooled by Spain in their last World Cup qualifier match and it is just for the love of the collective that I actually said Spain. If I am to go in specifics,I can easily say that Italy where schooled by a certain Francisco Alarcon aka ISCO. Italian midfield maestro,Marco Verratti who was at the sorry end of a lot of ISCO’s magic on that night attested to the fact that and I paraphrase ‘he had never seen anyone play at such a level, not even Messi’.
Maybe that statement is exaggerated, but it speaks of one truth, ISCO is presently playing at a level so high and is only bettered by Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. I can probably say that aside the two geniuses i just mentioned above. Amongst his peers ISCO is one of the best. The beautiful thing about football is how fickle it is.
Just 12 months ago, this same player was a shadow of the the promise that he showed as a youngster who flew out of the blocks in Malaga. He was always on the bench and was bereft of confidence. Zidane became head coach of a Madrid side that were already winners barely 24 months ago and a key reason why he dominated is still dominating and is still a mystery to teams is largely attributed to him unleashing ISCO’s beast.
We could argue that luck played a part, because Bale (who kept him on the bench before now) got injured coincidentally in this same period but that would be unfair and would just be me taking the sheen off the well deserved praise this young man deserves. Madrid plays better when ISCO plays,Ronaldo scores more when ISCO plays. He is the perfect conduit between midfield and attack who Is strong on both feet and how the ball glues to his feet as he glides effortlessly through defenses is reminiscent of Iniesta in his prime. He is more than effective in the final third and is always one to pick out otherworldly final balls. He provides cover for the midfield players especially when they are pressing the opposing and he seamlessly fits into the attack to provide support.
He has an impressive work rate and is always found marking whenever the team is without the ball. He also add to such a robust CV,an impressive eye for goal with incisive finishing. What more can I say? Asides the glitter and swagger of Ronaldo, ISCO is easily one of the best and most influential players on the Madrid roaster. Zidane knows this, Ronaldo knows this and everyone knows this. Any team that can neutralise ISCO has done more than half the job of beating the present Madrid team.
I am more than happy that this young man is finally living up to his billing and is enjoying football and I honestly do not see this stopping anytime soon. His quality cannot be overstated. The kind of form that he presently is in can be aptly captured by his second goal against Italy. He receives a ball from Andres Iniesta a little bit outside the 18 yards box, he skins Marco Verratti with excellent body movement and shifts the ball to his left foot and releases a shot that is both subtle and well placed.This leaves Buffon guessing what should have been after the ball had kissed the back of the net.
ISCO’s case is a perfect example of how luck, confidence from your manager and playing time can all contribute to give any player worth his onions proving themselves. And of course, a lot of Real Madrid’s success is predicated on how well he plays and how best Zidane gets the best out of him, and rightly so.