Isco must take his massive opportunity against Betis

An injury plagued Real Madrid has opened the doors for Isco to return to the starting line-up. However, he will have to take his opportunity against Betis, or face the consequences...

Isco must take his massive opportunity in Betis-Real Madrid

Betis – Real Madrid live

There’s something which hasn’t really changed much for Zidane since the new season began: selection headaches. As the Frenchman admitted after the victory in Anoeta at the start of the campaign, choosing a line-up is like having a migraine. However, with Real Betis on the horizon this Saturday, the motive for his dilemma is a little different. Whereas before Zidane had almost a full squad to pick from, now his options have been severely reduced owing to a string of injuries. Nevertheless, what is Zidane’s problem is Isco’s opportunity.

Isco with fourth lowest amount of minutes in squad 

Isco v Eibar

Due to the injury he suffered himself at the end of August, as well as the apparent loss in confidence from Zidane in the Malagan’s consistency, Isco stands as the player with the fourth lowest amount of minutes (207) in the whole squad this season, with only Mariano (13) – who the club want to send out on loan in January, Coentrao (0) – who continues to have his setbacks, and third goaljeeper Yáñez (0) having played less.

But with the crocked Casemiro, Modric and James all unable to play against Betis, Isco has found a route back into the starting line-up. The attacking midfielder – who played for Spain this week – though will still have to fight for his place in the 11 on Saturday, with Kovacic, Asensio and Vazquez, all having played in front of him recently.

Another chance to stake his claim 

Isco, then, is set for another chance to stake his claim, this time away from the Bernabéu, and will have to grab it with both arms: something he didn’t do against Eibar (which was the first and only time he’s started this season).

Alternative destinations for Isco, being a player of the quality he is, will always be available, but opportunities to stay, Real Madrid being the demanding club it is, not so much…

Minutes per player*

Sergio Ramos 1.190
Varane 1.066
Carvajal 972
Bale 933
Kroos 925
Casilla 750
Marcelo 705
Cristiano 678
Modric 636
Kovacic 631
Pepe 612
Casemiro 589
Asensio 547
Morata 530
James 496
Benzema 460
Danilo 360
Lucas Vázquez 334
Nacho 294
Keylor Navas 270
Isco 207
Mariano 13
Rubén Yáñez 0
Coentrao 0

*Including international matches