There’s a world of difference between Malaga and Real Madrid, obviously, but so much money wasn’t spent on Isco so he can watch & learn from the sidelines. Carlo Ancelotti is planning on using the young Spanish star right from the start in the lineup, with and not instead of Mesut Ozil, and in more than just the attacking midfielder role.
The match against PSG was a good opportunity to see how Real Madrid might line up on certain days, at least in terms of formation, next season under Carlo Ancelotti. Sami Khedira played the defensive midfielder, while Luka Modric and Isco were in front of him, with Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo on the wings, although for both of them it’s less than a traditional winger functioning.
Later on, Ronaldo moved closer to the middle and partnered with Karim Benzema in somewhat of a dual striker look, as expected from an Ancelotti team, while Isco moved to the left. Ancelotti loves using attacking midfielders in wider positions, and he simply needs to hope that this doesn’t harm his team too much when it comes to playing against sides with very strong and hard working wings.
Isco is only 21, but a youngster that cost €30 million isn’t going to wither away on the bench waiting for his chance. He has proven over the last couple of seasons, including last year with Malaga in the Champions League, that he’s quite ready for the big time on a big club, with a very strong performance in the U-21 European championship to shed any further doubts about his ability to lead a team.
Playing with Real Madrid isn’t exactly the same as playing next to Thiago and Morata for Spain, but Isco seems completely comfortable next to some of the biggest names in European football. He might need a little getting used to the intensity teams bring against Real Madrid every time when compared to what he’s been used to with Malaga, which seemed to work in their favor under Pellegrini for the last few seasons, including making the Champions League quarterfinals.
Competition for the job? There’s plenty of it. Real Madrid will most likely be playing with one holding midfielder, with Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Asier Illarramendi and Khedira opting to win the job. Being able to play in front as well is the big plus in this team, and with Isco perfectly capable of lighting things up on the left side, he shouldn’t have to fear for his spot in the starting lineup, whichever formation Ancelotti decides to go with.
As for Ozil, in a question we raised a few days ago, he’ll more likely than not be playing in a wider position than he’s used to, but Isco’s arrival, at least for now, won’t come at his expense. If and when Gareth Bale arrives, further shakeups are obviously going to be needed, but until then, Ozil is doing well on the right side of the midfield, probably being the best player for Real in their match against PSG. Isco isn’t quite at that level yet, but there doesn’t seem to be any internal politics and decision making that’s going to stop him.