Juventus will have to keep Isco quiet if they want to lift the Champions League in Cardiff, but he could have been Real Madrid’s problem if the Italian giants had got their way.
The club were keeping tabs on the Spaniard five years ago after he broke onto the scene at Malaga, but were put off by his €35million euro release clause.
“Isco is not on the market,” said Mario Husillos, Malaga’s director of football at the time, “We want him to remain here.”
The price tag, however, was not a problem for Real Madrid, who shelled out to bring the prodigy to the Bernabeu just a year later.
Juve’s reported interest in the playmaker was confirmed in 2014 when Massimiliano Allegri took charge at the club, saying:
“Juventus will need to evolve without [Andrea] Pirlo.
“I would like to sign a creative and flashy player who provides stability to our squad, such as Isco from [Real] Madrid.”
It took a while for Isco to establish himself in the Madrid first team, with a lack of game time prompting rumours that he could look to move elsewhere during the summer transfer window of 2016.
Once again, Juventus found themselves in the mix, with Isco’s father – also his agent – confirming the interest to Marca.
“Yes, Juventus are interested but they haven’t submitted at official offer,” he said.
“My son wants to stay at Real, one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
Failure to make a bid could come back to haunt the Old Lady, as Isco has become a key player for Zinedine Zidane’s side, and Allegri says he gives Madrid an unpredictability they don’t get from Gareth Bale.
“Bale is fast and gives a lot of order to Real Madrid,” he said.
“Isco has had a great season and has grown a lot and makes Real Madrid more difficult to read.
“We’ve talked to the team. Bale’s very fast, has great speed and in open field he’s devastating – in three passes he can take it from one end of the pitch to the other.
“Isco is less predictable than Bale but he gives Madrid less defensive order.”
Juventus and Real Madrid have met 18 times previously in the Champions League, sharing the spoils equally with eight wins each and two draws, but Allegri says history is meaningless in the final.
He continued: “Statistic’s don’t count for anything tomorrow. It’s a one-off final.
“We need to be strong and confident in our abilities and play well from a technical and tactical point of view – and we need to be better than Real Madrid.”
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