Since the Argentinean took over the reigns at the Bernabéu, the Brazilian has been gradually working his way into the first XI.
Last Sunday’s defeat by Real Sociedad served to highlight not only Vinicius Junior’s precocious talent but also the supporting role Isco has been assigned by Santiago Solari since the Argentinean stepped up from Castilla to take charge of the first team after the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.
The 18-year-old Brazilian was Real’s stand-out performer against La Real, his direct running and pace causing the visiting back line problems and almost leading to a penalty with the score at 0-1, a spot-kick that was controversially denied by the referee and not referred to VAR.
In the meantime, while Vinicius was grasping a further opportunity to cement his place in the starting XI, Isco was forced to watch from the bench despite the absences of Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Mariano. The Spain midfielder, who started five of the seven Liga games he was available for under Lopetegui, has failed to make the XI once under Solari. The 26-year-old’s only two starts have come in the Copa del Rey against Melilla and CSKA in the Champions League, a game of little importance given Real had already qualified for the knock-out stages in Europe.
Brahim Díaz places further doubt over Isco's Bernabéu status
In total, Isco has played 392 minutes under Solari, with 180 of those in the aforementioned fixtures. Vinicius has now chalked up 431 minutes under the Argentinean and earned his first start against Sociedad ahead of the midfielder, who came off the bench for 33 minutes during the 2-0 defeat.
And while Vinicius did his future chances of further starts no harm despite the result, Isco now faces even more competition in his position with the arrival of Brahim Díaz. The 19-year-old midfielder prefers a position behind a striker and in view of his more direft style of play and Solari’s preference for quick transitions, the embattled Isco may face even more time out in the cold if the new signing hits the ground running.