Isco will leave Madrid but Europe's top clubs will NOT take a gamble

Isco’s ‘disrespectful’ ponytail incident confirmed there’s no way back for him at Real Madrid… he was linked with Arsenal, Man City and Juventus but there’s no chance Europe’s top clubs will gamble on a player who looks well past his peak already

  • Isco looks almost certain to leave Real Madrid after an underwhelming season
  • Attacking midfielder has barely featured in any of Real’s most important games
  • He was accused of disrespect after slowly fixing his ponytail before coming on
  • The 28-year-old has played just 126 minutes of league action since November
  • Spanish media enjoy linking Isco with some of Europe’s leading clubs
  • In reality, his list of suitors will be significantly shorter and far less glamorous 

Isco played 14 minutes for Real Madrid as they beat Getafe earlier this week. It would have been a few minutes longer, but for the player’s vanity.

As one of Zinedine Zidane’s coaching team was trying to explain tactical instructions before he entered the action, the attacking midfielder was far more interested in how his hair looked.

A television network timed Isco’s ‘adjustments’, as he repeatedly wet his hair to smooth it into a ponytail, at one minute and 20 seconds. All the while, Zidane was waiting to make the switch.

Isco incurred the wrath of Real Madrid fans on social media for his touchline antics on Tuesday

Isco took a minute and 20 seconds to begin his warm-up as he tied his long hair into a ponytail

The Spaniard dawdled as he did his hair despite a coach waiting for him to begin his warm-up

It provoked a furious reaction from Real’s fans, who blasted his lack of professionalism and his evident disrespect for his coaches. The general consensus was that he should leave the Bernabeu at the earliest possible opportunity.

That won’t happen until the summer and you do wonder what Isco, 28, is going to contribute between now and then.

He has started just three LaLiga matches all season and has featured in just 126 minutes of league action since his last start on November 8.

Zidane has made him essentially a substitute of last resort in the prominent games and often he doesn’t get on at all, or even make the squad.

No goals and just one assist in 15 outings this season tells a sorry tale and despite his contract running until 2022, it seems Isco is beyond redemption in a Real squad in desperate need of a belt-tightening cull.

He was still doing his hair after a minute of trying as his Real coach watched on patiently

Eventually the 28-year-old was done and ready to begin his warm-up for the Spanish giants

Isco came on for the final 14 minutes of the match as Real beat Getafe 2-0 in LaLiga on Tuesday

Many Real supporters took to Twitter to express their unhappiness at Isco’s touchline antics

Isco this season 

Matches: 15

Starts: 4

Minutes: 497

Goals: 0

Assists: 1

The hair incident last week followed supporter anger that Isco and Marcelo shared a joke together on the pitch as Real crashed out of the Copa del Rey in humiliating fashion to third-tier Alcoyano last month.

Relations between the player and fans are in deep freeze and it’ll take a great deal of effort to thaw things out again.

As Real blunder on in the likely hopeless pursuit of Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga and the equally unlikely prospect of Champions League glory, potential suitors for Isco will already be scoped out.

Back in December, one Spanish media outlet suggested Isco’s decision to leave Real had ‘put some of the biggest clubs in Europe on alert, including Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United’.

As much as the Spanish football media want Isco to scale the heights because he’s one of their own, this desire has always been greater than the player’s capacity to match the expectation on him.

Manchester City have not been interested in Isco since 2013 when Manuel Pellegrini tried to sign him from Malaga. Pellegrini got the best out of Isco playing him with freedom behind the striker minus the shackles of any defensive duties. 

Isco’s talent is not up for debate but the list of suitors post-Real Madrid may prove to be short

However the Spaniard has not lived up to the heights that Spanish media have desired for him

He has fallen down the pecking order at Real Madrid and looks set to shortly leave the club

He shone under the Chilean and ended up going to Real Madrid instead of the Etihad. Seven years on he is still only 28 but looks the shadow of the player that helped take Malaga to a Champions League quarter-final.

Despite ongoing links to City, Pep Guardiola has never shared Pellegrini’s fondness for Isco and never requested that City move to sign him. Guardiola demands the sort of sustained intensity of his players that has always been absent from Isco’s game.

It’s unlikely Manchester United and Juventus feel any differently and it would be a surprise if Arsenal, the last club linked with Isco, take a gamble on a player whose best days seem so far behind him.

If they do, the challenge for Mikel Arteta will be to get a talented but languid and inconsistent performer up to Premier League speed in time to help Arsenal challenge next season. 

They also have eyes for Joan Jordan and the all-energy Sevilla midfielder looks like a far better investment.

Sevilla have also been linked with Isco. A move there would reunite the player with Julen Lopetegui, who always managed Isco well when he was Spain and briefly Real Madrid coach. 

It would be an interesting reunion – perhaps if anyone could save Isco from disappearing off the map before he hits 30 it would be Lopetegui.

If Jordan went to Arsenal then Sevilla might move for Isco although they would gambling on Lopetegui’s ability to turn Isco into an all-purpose midfielder – something no one else has ever really managed to do.

It would be wishful thinking to believe that both Manchester clubs would be keen on Isco

Isco would also be a gamble for Arsenal, with the player’s best days seeming to be behind him

He has always been the No 10 who struggled when – as is the case in most top teams – there was no room for a No 10 or someone better than him was already playing there.

Real Madrid don’t play with a No 10 so Isco has had to try to adapt. The problem has been that he neither has the pace to move further forward and play as a wide forward, nor the engine, muscle and guile that Luka Modric has to play as the box-to-box midfielder demanded in a 4-3-3.

The talent has never been up for debate and it’s a shame to see it wasted on the bench at Real Madrid. 

For all that Spain supporters would love to see him become the man who makes Juventus or Manchester City tick in the Champions League his next destination is likely to be a notch down from that. 

And it will come with a big responsibility on whoever decides to sign-off on the gamble. 

If Arsenal look elsewhere, a move to Julien Lopetegui’s Sevilla could be a likely move




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