Incredible Isco can become Madrid's golden boy

Los Blancos announced their first major summer signing on Thursday as they paid Malaga €35 million for the talented Spain star, for whom genuine greatness awaits
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

It has been a happy week for Real Madrid. Tuesday saw the announcement of coach Carlo Ancelotti following protracted negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain, Wednesday brought the Italian's polished presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu and Thursday the club's first major summer signing: Isco.

Madrid may only just be getting started in the transfer market this summer, with Isco in line to be a tasty aperitivo for the more substantial main dish to follow, with president Florentino Perez still hoping to lure Tottenham's Gareth Bale to the Spanish capital, while remaining in the hunt for Uruguay strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Isco, however, can go on to become the best of the lot. The Benalmadena-born attacker has enjoyed a rapid rise since moving to local club Malaga in 2011. Following substantial investment that summer, the Andalusian club moved quickly to secure the talented teenager, who was growing increasingly impatient at a lack of opportunities at Valencia, for his buy-out clause of €6 million.

Valencia CF Valencia 2009-11 7 2
Malaga Malaga 2011-13 81 17
The midfielder had made just seven first-team appearances for the Mestalla-based club, instead helping Valencia's B side to promotion in the Tercera Division - the fourth tier of Spanish football - in 2010-11. The following season, he became a hit in La Liga. It was an astonishing ascent.

Isco made an immediate impact at Malaga and in 2012 won the prestigious Golden Boy award for the game's most promising young player. His brilliant performances under Manuel Pellegrini also helped Malaga seal Champions League qualification for the first time in their history.

But it was in his second season that he truly blossomed, stepping up following the summer sale of Santi Cazorla to lead Malaga to the last eight in Europe's premier club competition, where they were within just seconds of a semi-final place before conceding twice in a minute to lose out to Borussia Dortmund in agonising fashion.

Despite the defeat, Malaga had made their mark. So too had Isco. The young Spain star struck 12 goals in 2012-13 (including two extraordinary efforts in a stunning show against Zenit) and after the club failed to overturn their European ban for financial irregularities and also missed a top-four place there was only ever likely to be one outcome: a summer sale.

Manchester City were keen to reunite the player with coach Pellegrini and Isco thought long and hard about a move to the Premier League, considering he would be unable to compete immediately for a first-team place at Real Madrid.

Such is his quality, however, that Isco is ready to step up once again and start for Madrid, perhaps as a playmaker under Ancelotti or on the right side of midfield. The atttacker, who as a 17-year-old described himself as an 'anti-madridista', will win over fans quickly with his technique, his dribbling, his vision and his goals following his €30m move.

From the fourth tier of Spanish football in 2010-11 to a starring role in La Liga the following season and a stunning Champions League debut the next, incredible Isco looks set to be the next Spanish superstar and Madrid's golden boy.

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