After another stunning performance by Isco Alarcón in last month’s 2-0 victory away at Elche, Inside Spanish Football’s Real Madrid correspondent Alex Kirkland explores the continued impact that the young midfielder is having with Los Blancos.
Two minutes of normal time remaining at Elche’s Estadio Martínez Valero. Real Madrid are two goals up and heading for victory, a three points that will win them some hard-earned breathing space at the top of the table. There’s movement on the touchline – Carlo Ancelotti, looking to close the game down, is ready to make his second change of the match.
When the number 23 is held aloft by the fourth official, the applause starts. It’s a ripple at first but it spreads, growing in volume, until it becomes apparent these cheers are not just coming from theMadridista contingent. This is the entire stadium,ilicitanos too, somewhat sheepishly at first, standing to acknowledge the game’s outstanding player: Isco.
The Malagueño is still just 22 years old but his influence is growing exponentially. At the start of the season his first-team place was far from guaranteed; now, he looks undroppable. There are still bigger names, players who score more goals and grab more headlines in this Madrid team, but Isco is every bit as important. It’s no exaggeration to say that, in recent months, he has become Madrid’s most influential player.
February’s game against Elche was a case in point.
He was everywhere, always available, demanding the ball, receiving it surrounded by opposition players and somehow finding a way through in a blur of quick feet. This was in many ways a textbook Iscoperformance. There was no goal, but what an assist – wrapping his left foot around a ball that seemed to be on its way out of play to whip in a cross that Cristiano Ronaldo headed home.
His teammates know his value. Speaking after the game, Iker Casillas said Isco will become the most important player in Spanish football. If his progress continues at this pace, it’s hard to argue. The only impediment may be competition for places – Carlo Ancelotti has quite a job on his hands when Luka Modric and James Rodríguez are back in contention – but if the season so far is anything to go by, Isco will rise to the challenge.
This content originally appeared here.