Isco Says He May Be 'The Problem' at Real Madrid, Can't Win Zinedine Zidane over

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 28, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 27:  Isco Alarcon of Spain celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the International Friendly match between Spain and Argentina at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on March 27, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Isco has said he doesn't "know how to win" the confidence of Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and conceded that maybe he's "the problem" at the club after scoring a hat-trick against Argentina on Tuesday. 

Spain mauled their South American foes 6-1 at Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Isco then contrasted his performances in national team colours against those at club level and highlighted the confidence of their respective coaches as a defining factor, per Marca:

"In Madrid I don't have the confidence a player needs. The matches with the national team give me life, here I have the confidence of the coach.

"I want to show that I'm a good player.

"[Spain manager Julen] Lopetegui shows me confidence with the minutes he gives me.

"Maybe I'm the problem in Madrid.

"I don't know how to win Zidane's confidence."

La Liga football writer Simon Harrison took note of the fact Isco didn't take much encouragement to give his assessment of why he isn't excelling as hoped at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu:

Simon Harrison @simonhfootball

Quite a big statement, really, given the context He wasn't pushed and after such a performance you'd think it would be the last thing on his mind. Clearly must feel hard done by.

Tuesday's hat-trick, like in previous showings with Spain, demonstrated the potential Isco possesses, but he doesn't hold the same sway at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro are seen as constants in midfield by Zidane, while Isco is regularly left contending with Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez for a place.

Lopetegui praised Isco's performance in his post-match comments but said he wouldn't be drawn into a discussion as to why the player isn't featuring as regularly as he might like with Los Merengues, per Marca's Jose Felix Diaz:

"I'm not going to talk about Real Madrid and Zidane's decisions. 

"I haven't learnt anything new with Isco's performances, I'm so pleased to have him with us.

"I hope that he will be happier with his club in the next two months and then join up with us again."

It's been almost five years since the midfielder won the 2013 Golden Boy award while at Malaga and earned a high-profile switch to the Bernabeu.

One could argue Zidane sees something Lopetegui doesn't or that perhaps Isco isn't the same player with his club, but Goal's Ben Hayward couldn't help but notice the contrast in performance:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Clearly Real Madrid haven't been getting the best out of Isco lately. Incredible tonight.

Summer suitors will look kindly upon Isco's post-match comments, which could hint he's unhappy at Real under Zidane. He has started 29 times in 40 appearances this season but is frequently shuffled in and out of the team.

Nevertheless, he has again demonstrated a balanced output with five goals and five assists in La Liga this term—fourth-highest in Real's ranks for both—although it was his scoring that roused the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday, per The Spanish Football Podcast:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Standing ovation for Isco. #EspañaArgentina https://t.co/nAwrVj0RVC

Isco has started in eight of his last nine appearances for Spain and is clearly seen by Lopetegui as a valuable asset ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

His relationship with Zidane is perhaps not as smooth, however, and the contrast in confidence between club and international level could convince the playmaker his needs will be better served elsewhere.


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