The Real Madrid squad is at a crossroads all teams eventually encounter. The core of the team - Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, and Cristiano Ronaldo are all in their 30's. While individually these players may still be at the top of the tree in their respective positions, manager Zinedine Zidane will need a star to build his team around once these stalwarts are gone.

That man is isco Alarcon.


The diminutive midfield magician is somewhat of a mystery - despite having chalked up some of the most appearances of any member of the squad under Zinedine Zidane and playing a key role in last season's Champion's League run, the Spaniard has never truly been seen as a full first XI player in the capital.

The Sun points out that throughout his time with Los Blancos, Isco has often been the man to make way for a fit-again Gareth Bale, despite the latter performing at a level some way below his team-mate. In spite of this though, the 25-year-old has remained determined to win over multiple different coaches and secure his place as a regular starter.

Toward the run-in of the 2016/17 season though, there was a marked shift in the Spanish Capital. With Zidane realising he couldn't fully rely on his Welsh superstar Bale to stay fit, or perform at the level required of the world's biggest club when fit, the Frenchman decided to add an extra midfielder to his starting XI in order to help his team have more control of the ball.

Isco was the chosen one

Operating at the tip of the diamond in a 4-4-2, Isco flourished, along with the rest of his midfield colleagues. Given license to roam, and having the intelligence to know when to drift wide or roam centrally, the Spaniard caused havoc to opposition defences. Positioned between the midfield and defensive lines, Isco pulled markers out of position all over the park, freeing up fellow midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to break lines at will with their superb passing, technique and vision.

Isco's addition to the lineup provided a link between midfield and attack which wasn't always there, allowing for a higher degree of creativity and variation in how Los Blancos create chances.

the 2017/18 season has seen Isco installed as a regular starter for Real Madrid ahead of Bale. However, the reigning La Liga champions' disastrous defence of their title led to multiple changes in the squad and Isco again lost his place.

Struggling for form where Marco Asensio and Lucas Vasquez found it, Isco was relegated to the bench for a string of games throughout March. This move proved fruitful for Zidane as Real Madrid found their feet again and subsequently dumped Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League round of 16.


Isco regained his form recently in the international break during Spain's friendlies with Germany and Argentina. Linking up well with veteran Andres Iniesta in a more midfield oriented tactical setup, the bandy-legged Spaniard routinely carved up chances for his teammates. He was especially brilliant in the subsequent match vs Argentina, putting up a man of the match display in a 6-1 thrashing, he scored his first senior hat-trick and left a trail of Argentine defenders in his wake.

This resurgence led to Isco being reinstated to the Real Madrid lineup for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final vs last season's final opponents; Juventus. Isco left the pitch with one assist - setting up Cristiano Ronaldo in the 3rd minute- and 100% of his passes completed. He was the first man to complete every single pass he made (54/54) since the great Xavi Hernandez completed an astounding 95/95 in the Champions League in 2014.

Looking to the future

It is clear that an in-form Isco is one of the very best midfielders in the world, and should be respected as such. As Real Madrid's core superstars begin to age, it is imperative that Los Blancos recognise the talent they have on their hands. Building the future Squad around the Spaniard should allow him to flourish, and a confident Isco, more often than not, allows the team to flourish with him.