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The reasons why Isco’s move to Sevilla was a disaster

Endorsed in Sevilla only by Lopetegui, the Basque’s departure threw him off center, he faced Monchi and his lack of involvement ended up scaring Sampaoli away.

Isco, in his presentation with Sevilla.

Isco is a free agent and will spend next month looking for a new club. He joined Sevilla on a free transfer in the summer after his contract with Real Madrid expired. Less than five months later, he is on the move again.

Isco arrival under suspicions and without a pre-season

Isco landed in Seville on 7 August among the suspicions of fans who, like many of the higher-ranking club officials, were divided about his signing. Favorable economic conditions, very different from the demands the Málaga-born midfielder requested at the beginning of the summer, allowed him to sign for Sevilla. Initially there was a sense of excitement: over 5,000 fans attended his official presentation without knowing when the midfielder would be able to start playing. LaLiga had already started and Isco was unveiled without having done a pre-season. That proved to be a key factor in why it all went so wrong so quickly.


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An artist among many artists

Papu Gómez, Oliver Torres, Suso... and Isco. Too many footballers with the same profile, some like Suso recently returned from injury, players who never stood out for their ability to win the ball back. On top of that, the ‘grafter’ Fernando Reges played with the weight of what would later be revealed as a serious illness that kept him sidelined for several weeks. He looked committed enough in some of his first matches, such as the Espanyol game, in which he dragged the team back into contention but, Isco’s initial momentum gradually waned as the poor results continued, putting Sevilla’s gameplan, and Lopetegui into question.

Lopetegui in the firing line

Very soon, the ghosts that had always haunted the Basque coach at the Sánchez-Pizjuán, even during good times, multiplied as the team plummeted down the table. There were humbling thrashings like the defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League and Barcelona in the league. Lopetegui had been Isco’s biggest supporter - at times, the only one. He championed the player’s move to Sevilla and that feeling was mutual. To the point where Isco reproached Monchi in front of the whole squad, arguing that he was only at the club “because of Julen” and not because of him. That run-in between the sports director and Isco caused a great deal of friction... and it wasn’t the only one he had.

Confrontation with Monchi and Sampaoli

While it’s true that it’s not easy being in a dressing room during the very bad times, and even worse when the team has no leaders, but during his four months as a Sevilla player Isco didn’t manage to fit in either on the field nor off it. In recent weeks, even Jorge Sampaoli lost any faith he had in the player. The coach lost his temper when Isco insinuated that he didn’t want to play because of a niggle during the warm-up ahead of the Copa del Rey tie against Velarde. Sampaoli was having none of it and fielded him for 60 minutes.

Returning from holidays out of shape

After the mini-vacations that the coach granted to non-World Cup players, Isco arrived in ‘poor shape’, to put it less bluntly than how it was viewed by the club. It confirmed another of the phrases that was already doing the rounds by mid-November: “Isco is not here nor is he expected”. Sampaoli saw little involvement and the player continued to do his part by missing several group training sessions due to undetermined physical problems. He was not called up for any of the preparatory friendlies, against Monaco, Benfica or Volendam, while they were openly looking for a way out for him, in an attempt to at least to get some kind of fee for his sale. But there have been no offers, leaving Sevilla with no other option of than to terminate his contract.