Isco’s virtuoso display for Spain against Italy on Saturday night is being regarded as one of the finest individual performances for generations.
The Real Madrid star scored twice and generally ran the show as the Spanish emphatically ended their opponents’ 11-year unbeaten run in qualifying matches with a 3-0 win.
And one of Isco’s victims Marco Verratti has joined the appreciation society in the aftermath.
Verratti was bamboozled by Isco throughout, including an outrageous nutmeg halfway through the second half, and the PSG star believes even Lionel Messi would have struggled to replicate the level of the Spaniard’s display.
Verratti said afterwards: “I suffered a lot against Isco.
“I was taken aback by his performance. Not even Messi has come close to that level.
“When I saw his nutmeg, I felt like standing up and applauding too.”
It’s rare, but when footballers stand up and recognise the genius of their opposition it’s strangely heartwarming.
Isco opened the scoring with a sublime free kick before doubling the lead at the Bernabeu with a fine left-footed strike.
Sergio Ramos then squared for Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata to cap a fine team performance late on.
Spain lead Italy at the top of Group G by three points knowing another victory will all-but secure their qualification for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
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