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Real Madrid: Isco's downfall started at Ipurua

Almost one year on, the midfielder returns to the stadium where it all started to go wrong for him at Real Madrid. Since then, he's played just three full games.

Isco regresa a Eibar, donde empezó su cuesta abajo como jugador del Madrid.

Almost one year on, Isco returns to Ipurua – the stadium where it all started to go downhill for him at Real Madrid. Since that 3-0 defeat to Eibar on 24 November last year, things haven’t been the same for the Real Madrid midfielder. At the time, Madrid had recently changed coach – Solari taking over from Lopetegui, with whom he had been a regular starter. He was also a regular with Spain under coach Luis Enrique – who even made him captain for the friendly against Bosnia in Gran Canaria.

Player photo

Isco loses his cool at Ipurua in Week 13

It all started to turn sour for Isco when Solari took the reins at Madrid. The midfielder had not featured in the starting line-up in any of the four games leading up to the trip to Eibar – he didn’t play a single minute of Solari’s debut in charge, against Melilla in the Copa del Rey, then he came off the bench to play the final half hour of the league game against Valladolid three days later. He was also on the bench for the Champions League trip to Viktoria Plzen, replacing Toni Kroos on 72 minutes. And in Vigo, possibly because Casemiro and Reguilón both retired injured in the first half, he didn’t figure at all. For the Eibar game, he was still on the bench and that was when he could no longer contain his unhappiness. A number of pitchside reporters witnessed the player arguing with Solari and his assistant, Santi Sánchez.

Isco comes on for Eden Hazard against Galatasaray.
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Isco comes on for Eden Hazard against Galatasaray.SERGIO PEREZREUTERS

Angry Isco punished for outburst

With Madrid trailing 3-0, Solari decided to make his second substitution of the game and ordered Isco on to replace Modric. Isco played the final 27 minutes of the game and was still fuming when the full-time whistle went - according to some sources, refusing to shake the coach's hand after the game before seething, "Why did you bring me on when we were 3-0 down?". The bad mood between player and coach continued during the journey back to Madrid in which Isco had another slanging match with Santiago Sánchez. In the nexct match, a crucial Champions League game against Roma at the Olimpico, Isco watched from the stands as punishment…

Since then, Madrid have played a total of 53 games across all competitions but Isco has only taken part in 24 of them (45.28%), and started just eight… Perhaps the most alarming aspect is that he has only completed three full games: against Melilla in the Copa del Rey (6-1), against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League (0-3 - his last full game at the Bernabéu) and against Getafe (0-0). He has not started and finished a game at the Bernabéu since the 0-3 defeat to CSKA in December 2018… Close to one year on, Isco is back at the place where his downfall began.


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