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Isco ends doubts over Madrid future after leading them to title

By Reuters - May 22,2017 - Last updated at May 22,2017

Real Madrid’s Isco fights for the ball against Malaga’s Keko Gontan during a Spanish La Liga football match in Malaga, Spain, on Sunday (AFP photo by Sergio Camacho)

Real Madrid’s magical midfielder Isco has finally found his place in Zinedine Zidane’s side as he tries to drive them towards a La Liga and Champions League double.

Isco set up Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-minute goal against Malaga on Sunday as Madrid won 2-0 to earn the Spanish title.

After months of uncertainty over his future and reports that he was considering leaving after failing to start on a regular basis, the tide has turned at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale’s injury problems prompted Zidane to shuffle his pack and Isco has been the winner of the situation, with the coach shifting to a 4-4-2 formation.

Isco plays as an attacking midfielder at the tip of a central diamond, his ideal position. The new set-up has helped Madrid win their first title since 2012 and reach the Champions League final against Juventus.

“Do not worry the fans of Real Madrid. I will stay,” Isco told reporters on Sunday, ending uncertainty over his future.

“Yes, [the situation] was complicated at first, but I have remained strong psychologically and I have received the support of everyone.”

Isco has been a key part of Madrid’s form in the second half of the season, notching a total of 10 league goals in 30 appearances, just 18 of them starts.

Madrid supporters have been fond of Isco since he joined from Malaga in 2013 and he was delighted to win the title in the Spanish capital, which he feels has become his home.

“It’s been some time coming, but it’s a dream come true to have won the title here, with my family and friends in my city,” Isco added. “I’ll be forever grateful for the affection they’ve shown me. It’s a very sweet moment and you have to enjoy it.”

Isco’s performance against his former team helped Madrid keep the Andalusians at bay and his connection with Ronaldo has inspired the side in the last few months.

Although Bale is expected to be fit for the Champions League final, Zidane may opt to stick with his new formation instead of accommodating the Welshman in Cardiff by reverting to the 4-3-3.

Spanish newspaper Marca conducted a poll on May 12 in which only 28 per cent of 33,000 voters preferred Bale to start on June 3 over Isco (72 per cent).

 

Although Zidane may feel pressure to start Madrid’s record signing in his homeland, on merit Isco deserves the chance to try and help the club win their 12th Champions League trophy.

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