The reasons behind Isco’s decision to leave Real Madrid

Isco controls the ball during a training session at Valdebebas training ground on November 19, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Isco has asked to leave Real Madrid due to the little prominence afforded to him in recent times by coach Zinedine Zidane. The midfielder is looking to leave in January if it’s possibly to find a deal that suits both parties.

Madrid are open to the move given that they’re trying to reduce their wage bill and free up funds for a move for Kylian Mbappe next summer, while Isco needs game-time should he wish to be in contention for the Spain squad for Euro 2020.

Isco is said to receive between €6m and €7m net per-season, and this relief, coupled with a transfer fee, would benefit the coffers at the Santiago Bernabeu significantly. There is, however, myriad reasons for the deal according to Diario AS.

Isco was recently caught criticising Zidane on the bench, saying that “if he starts me, he takes me off in the 50th or 60th minute, and if he brings me on, I come on in the 80th.”

Zidane responded calmly, citing Isco’s desire to play as a good thing, but the truth is that relations have been frayed between the two for some time.

There was a time where Zidane really relied on the Andalusian, even sending James Rodriguez off to Bayern Munich to create space for him, but since his return to the club he’s tended to prefer more pragmatic characters like Fede Valverde.

This decision has resulted in fewer minutes for Isco. The midfielder hit 2,400 and 3,000 in 2016/17 and 2017/18 respectively, but only reached 1,800 and 1,600 in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively.

He was ranked 14th in the Real Madrid squad in terms of minutes last season, and when he did play it was on the wing instead of his preferred central position.

This loss of significance in the Santiago Bernabeu has affected his prominence with La Roja. Isco played for Spain at the 2018 World Cup but hasn’t featured in red since June 2019, with Luis Enrique building a strong side without him.

That’s perhaps the driving force behind a move this winter. Isco needs minutes and exposure to force himself back into Luis Enrique’s thinking, and at 28 is at a crossroads in his career – he can be a bit-part player for Madrid or become a key cog for a lesser light.

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