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Is Isco the best midfielder in the world right now?

Real Madrid and Spain midfielder is in the form of his life - so is he the best in the business right now?

This time last year Isco’s days at Real Madrid appeared to be numbered.

Fast-forward 12 months and the man his team-mates call ‘Magic’ is the creative hub for club and country.


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Midfielder Isco enjoys hitting the opener for Spain against Italy

Getty Images - Getty
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Isco scored twice against Italy on Saturday night

On Saturday night Isco illustrated why many feel he is in the form of his life with one of the standout individual performances in recent memory.

Not only did he tease and toy with Italy – supposedly the best defensive unit in world football – but he scored two sumptuous goals too in a dominant 3-0 win.

Spain were ruthless and emphatically ended Italy’s 11-year unbeaten run in qualifying matches, with Isco at the heart of absolutely everything.

Isco scored 11 goals in all competitions for Los Blancos last season

Getty - Contributor
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Spain’s poster boy is finally delivering

It’s some turn around for the 25-year-old who seemed destined for the Bernabeu exit until Zinedine Zidane’s enduring faith shone through.

‘LUXURY PLAYER’ TAG

Isco has been regularly accused of prioritising style over substance whilst also failing to establish a consistent position.

The former Malaga man was behind Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez in Los Blancos’ pecking order until Zidane’s switch to a diamond took Real to a new level.

Zinedine Zidane is a big fan of Hazard

Reuters
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Zinedine Zidane has had a huge impact in Isco’s turnaround

But tith Casemiro at the base, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos dictating play in front and Isco floating around in more advanced positions, Real now boast the best midfield quartet since Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Kaka dominated the mid 2000s at AC Milan.

Isco is the jewel in Zidane’s crown right now and has shaken off that ‘luxury player’ tag by combining seemingly effortless skill and guile with genuine match-winning performances.

Isco celebrates scoring sublime winner against Manchester United in Skopje

Reuters
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Isco scored the winner against Manchester United in the Super Cup

In the last six months he ensured Real’s so called ‘B’ side clinched the La Liga title whilst their priorities lay with Champions League glory.

He then produced a silky man of the match display in that final against Juventus in May before tearing Manchester United apart in the Super Cup final at the start of August.

And Saturday night was the best of the lot, making mincemeat of two of the world’s best in Marco Verratti – who he nutmegged – and Daniele De Rossi.

Verratti, in fact, went onto say: “I learnt a lot today playing against Isco. I was in his pocket for 90 minutes so we were able to form a friendship.”

Amazing.

INIESTA’S HEIR

Isco has finally fulfilled his potential and at just the right time for Spain, with Andres Iniesta in his twilight years and the need for an heir to develop.

The bad news for Barcelona is he plays for Real Madrid.

Barcelona do not consider extending Andres Iniesta's contract a top priority

Rex Features
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Iniesta will need replacing for club and country soon

For Real too the timing of Isco’s form has been crucial with question marks over Bale’s future prominent and Modric approaching his latter years too.

It’s testament to the player that amongst an embarrassment of elite talent for club and country he has been handed a free role to thrive in recent months.

If he keeps up this kind of form, would a Ballon d’Or nomination be out of the question?


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