Real Madrid are by far one of the most elite and successful clubs in the entire world of football. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Brazilian Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, and a host of other footballing legends have graced the Bernabeu.
In Madrid, the very best players are pitted against each other for a starting place. This is mostly due to the fact that the club can bring in whoever they choose. James Rodriguez broke out of the obscurity of the France to show his colors during the World Cup. Shortly after its conclusion, Real Madrid snapped him up with ease. This pattern has continued for years as Madrid horde bucket loads of world class talent within their side.
In turn, this high level of competition means some very skilled individuals are left out. The most recent and popular scrap for a place occurred between the multimillion pound Gareth Bale, and Spanish international Francisco Alarcon, more commonly known as Isco.
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At the beginning of the previous season, Bale had his first team place comfortably nailed down. However, poor performances coupled with injuries gave young Isco a chance to stake a claim in the team. The road to getting an opportunity was not an easy one for the Spaniard.
In his debut season, Isco began by scoring and assisting freely from a no.10 role. Unfortunately for him, Carlo Ancelotti did not feel the team functioned best with an attacking midfield position. Instead, Ancelotti opted for a standard midfield three which required more defending from the central midfielders.
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No Isco no disco
Isco was dumped out of the starting 11, but improved the gritty side of his game over time. With his improved defensive ability, Isco was able to start in central midfield more often. Fast forward a little bit, and injury kept Bale out of his left midfield position. Isco was chosen to deputize there and boy did he take his chance.
Unlike Bale who marauds up the pitch, leaving his left-back exposed, Isco stays back when needed. His intelligent positioning provides great support for the defenders as the midfielder is able to win tackles on the ground.
Isco also continued to produce mesmerizing attacking play too. His ability to wriggle free of defenders with skill is unrivalled. Isco, while not being the fastest, still possesses a wonderful change of pace allowing him to beat defenders. If that is not enough, Isco’s excellent passing ability ensures most passes he makes finds a teammate.
Isco has also managed to establish a high level of consistency, whereas Bale is more of a streaky player.
Now, there is no doubting that on his day, the Welshman is substantially more effective going forward. His electric pace and knack of scoring goals is something Isco cannot contend with. But while Bale might be the more flamboyant option, Isco is the smarter one.
The former Malaga man is able to provide the perfect mix of magical attacking play and hard, gritty work. His presence on the left would assure that no cheap goals would be scored from the flank. It would also ensure a constant attacking menace for the opposition to deal with.
Isco may not be a name many kids have on the backs of their shirts. Frankly, he may not even be as naturally talented as Bale. But in terms of benefit and compatibility to the team, Isco nudges his way past the most expensive player on the planet.