NIVEA MEN Deep Insights: Isco

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Could Real Madrid’s forgotten star be set for a resurgence under Santiago Solari?

Isco has struggled for game time at Real Madrid under Santiago Solari, but the Spain playmaker certainly has the quality to turn things around.

The attacking midfielder has endured a testing start to the season after surgery to remove his appendix disrupted his season.

He was quickly recalled to the first team by former coach Julien Lopetegui after his recovery, and was even handed a starting berth for the 5-1 Clasico defeat by Barcelona.

 Isco is one of the Real Madrid stars featured in NIVEA Men TV advert

However, he hasn’t started a fixture since that match, playing just a cameo role in Solari’s turnaround, as the now-permanent coach has won all four of his matches to date.

There appears to be a very clear explanation for Isco’s recent absence, and supporters should be under no illusion that the 26-year-old still has a key role to play for Los Merengues moving forward.

Dani Ceballos believes that Isco’s relative inactivity is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

"He is a player who came from a major injury and went through surgery," Isco’s teammate told the Spanish media.

Isco | 2018-19 La Liga stats

"With Julen, he played two consecutive games and with Solari, he said he saw him a bit out of shape, but he is training 100 per cent.”

He may have been dropped from Real’s starting XI, but his enduring quality has ensured that he retained his spot in Luis Enrique’s Spain XI for the Nations League clash against Croatia and the friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Clearly, Solari isn’t completely ruling out Isco’s class, and sees a place for the midfielder in his plans.

"We know Isco's quality and how special he is. He is training to get back to peak fitness," he told journalists.

"He had a delicate operation and it's not easy to come out of that, but he is training with the group,” Solari added.

"All of us who have been footballers know that you have to keep training to get back to your best.”

Certainly, Isco’s performances in recent seasons would suggest that he still has a lot to offer.

Last term, despite Real’s domestic troubles, he still registered seven goals and seven assists, a slight decline on his return of 18 decisive contributions (10 goals and eight assists) the year before.

Sergio Busquets Isco Barcelona - Real Madrid LaLiga 10282018

He contributed two assists en route to the Champions League title last season, and has already demonstrated his class in Europe’s top competition this term.

Indeed, Isco was arguably the man of the match as AS Roma were crushed 3-0 at the Bernabeu in September.

In that game, he created five goalscoring chances for his teammates—a game-high along with Toni Kroos—and boasted a pass accuracy of 89.9 percent.

In that clash, he thrived in a wide left role in the three-man forward line, but expect Isco to move more centrally when he returns under Solari, who appears keen to use Gareth Bale on his favoured left flank.

Isco Marcelo Real Madrid La Liga 2018

 

As well as the Roma bout, Isco also weighed in with Real’s only goal in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao, and contributed assists in the victory at Girona and the triumph over Real Valladolid.

Now approaching his prime, Isco still has an awful lot to offer Real.

Admittedly, Los Blancos are a club still finding their identity following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Lopetegui, but expect the playmaker to establish a role for himself at the heart of Solari’s revival.

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