Spain and Real Madrid playmaker Isco has revealed who he blames for his lack of minutes on the pitch at club level during the last few seasons.
In an open and frank interview with Spanish publication MARCA whilst on international duty, Isco shouldered much of the blame by insisting “it’s complicated but it’s my fault.”
Asked whether he had found things difficult to get a consistent run in the side since Carlo Ancelotti’s departure from the Spanish capital, the midfield star admitted:
It was complicated. At the end with Carlo Ancelotti I almost always played if not from the start but as the first change. From one season to another, that change was the most difficult but that’s football. There are ups and downs and I don’t give up, I fight to the end and want to prove that I’m fit for Madrid.
It’s complicated but it’s my fault. In the end, if I’m not the star man with Ancelotti, Benitez or Zidane, I will not be foolish to look for problems where there are none. In the end, I’m responsible and that’s where I must improve.
What has been noticeable since Zinedine Zidane took charge was Isco’s sheer work ethic. Displaying similar qualities to the likes of Casemiro and Khedira before him, Isco won a central midfield role from Ancelotti before losing it under Benitez.
Under Zidane last season however, Isco began to run more than anyone else when given his opportunities, covering more ground than his teammates and winning the ball back at an increased rate.
Questioned to acknowledge his increased work ethic, Isco replied “Yes.”
However it seems the new side of his game impacts what comes more natural to the gifted playmaker:
The demand’s higher and I feel sick after every game, sometimes for the better and sometimes it’s worse. When you’re more tired, running more yards, you just don’t have that focus in attack.
Rumours of Isco’s departure have been virtually ever present since his arrival in Madrid. With his contract due to expire in 2018, he’s yet to be offered a new deal even though most other in the squad have signed new longer-term deals. Where does that leave him?
I don’t know, the truth is that I have not yet thought about it, nor have they asked me to renew, so I am calm. I take it day by day, which is important.
It seems a little weird, but I can’t do anything. If they don’t want me to renew, I won’t go asking for it. It’s something for the club to decide, not me.
At Real Madrid I’ve played many games, more than people think, about 150 but I’ve never been the star man. In Madrid I know it’s very difficult because of the competition, but I won’t give up. I work every day to demonstrate my abilities.
On a more positive note, Isco has been recalled to Spain’s national side by new (former Youth Team) manager Julen Lopetegui which has boosted his confidence, stating:
We all like to wear the national team jersey, I am very happy to be here and for the opportunity that the coach gives me, it shows he trusts me. I’ve known Lopetegui for many years, in the Under-19s, the Under-20 World Cup, then the U21 European Championship.
For me it means a lot, he knows since the Under-21s that little motivates me more than playing for my country, I can contribute a lot and have a lot of confidence.