If any player in the Real Madrid squad had good reason to celebrate the dismissal of Rafael Benitez last week it was probably Isco.
The 23-year-old featured sporadically under the Spanish coach - he only completed 90 minutes in La Liga on three occasions - but was named in the starting line-up by Zinedine Zidane in the Frenchman’s first match in charge of Los Blancos at the weekend.
After the 5-0 demolition of Deportivo, Isco posted a photo of himself in action alongside the caption: "Pleased about the victory and happy to enjoy my football again.” This was seen by many as a subtle dig at Benitez.
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However, Isco insists this wasn’t the case. The Spain international posted less than an hour later to clarify his comments via Twitter.
"I was referring to playing again after such a long time,” he was quoted as saying by Marca. “Rafa is a great professional and I wish him the best of luck".
Isco's first tweet
Translation: "Pleased about the victory and happy to enjoy my football again.”
Isco's second tweet
Translation: "I was referring to playing again after such a long time. Rafa is a great professional and I wish him the best of luck".
Isco's future looks brighter under Zidane
Isco failed to score or provide an assist during Saturday’s match, but he has clearly drawn encouragement that Zidane named him in his first Real Madrid starting XI ahead of James Rodriguez.
The technically-gifted playmaker has drawn comparisons to Zidane - praise doesn’t come much higher for an attacking midfielder - and showcased his immense quality at times under the stewardship of Carlo Ancelotti.
Under Benitez, though, there were even reports that Isco could leave the Bernabeu at some point during 2016 due to his lack of minutes on the pitch.
With Zidane in charge, Isco’s future as a Real Madrid player suddenly looks much brighter.
Should Isco be starting ahead of James at Real Madrid? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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