Carlo Ancelotti made a point of praising Isco during Real Madrid’s pre-season, praising the 29-year-mentality, old’s but just a few months into the season, he has fallen to the bottom of the midfield pecking order.
Isco had a limited role under Zinedine Zidane in the 2020/21 season, making just 29 appearances across all competitions. In reality, although he appeared in 25 LaLiga Santander matches, just eight of those were as a starter.
So, Isco’s off to a terrific start…
Isco was expected to benefit from Ancelotti’s return, having shined so brilliantly during the Italian’s previous term in command, but despite starting two of Real Madrid’s first three league games this season, he quickly fell out of favor.
Isco impressed in both games, playing 59 minutes against Levante and 66 minutes against Real Betis, but then he only played 12 minutes against Valencia, 18 minutes against Real Mallorca, and nine minutes against Villarreal. Isco has not featured for Real Madrid since the 0-0 draw with Villarreal on September 25.
He was diagnosed with a back ailment, which forced him to miss the games against Espanyol, Barcelona, and Osasuna in October. Isco was later recalled by Ancelotti for the last two games against Elche and Rayo Vallecano, although he was placed on the bench on both occasions.
Isco has also yet to appear in a single minute of the Champions League this season. He was injured for Real Madrid’s triumph against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kyiv, but he has sat out the other three games.
Only Ceballos stands in Isco’s way.
The addition of Eduardo Camavinga to the trustworthy midfield three of Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos has made life more difficult for Isco.
If anybody needs to come into the middle, Fede Valverde is first on the list, followed by Camavinga and even Marco Asensio, who has played as a central midfielder under Ancelotti this season.
Only Dani Ceballos remains behind Isco in the pecking order, and the Malaga-born midfielder’s time at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu seems to be drawing to a close.
Isco’s Real Madrid contract ends next summer on June 30, thus he will be able to negotiate a pre-contract arrangement with other teams starting January 1, 2022.