Whenever Real Madrid struggle, something that has happened commonly since 2015, there is always one trend around. Isco wants the ball. Isco wants to make something happen. At age 22, Isco is showing that he's not afraid to demand the ball and become Real Madrid's main reference when it comes to making plays. It happened on both legs against Atlético de Madrid, and it happened in Mestalla, although he was not as brilliant in Valencia.
When the season started and everybody was healthy and fit, Ancelotti built his squad with a Kroos-Modric-James midfield. Isco was the one on the bench most of the time. James kicked-off the season in really good form, being a good scorer but also a playmaker. Over the last couple of months though, ever since he picked up a muscle injury and probably some weeks before that as well, James' form declined a bit, just like Real Madrid's.
Luka Modric's spot on Real Madrid's starting XI is completely out of question. He will start. And so will Toni Kroos. That means that one out of James and Isco will have to sit on the bench. It would be easier to leave the younger, cheaper Isco out, but that is something Ancelotti might not be able to afford considering how both players have been performing lately.
There are a lot of games to be played. Injuries happen and Real Madrid's coach will surely be forced to make rotations down the road, but against top teams in the Champions League, the Italian will need to trust Isco. The midfielder knows how well he's played and would certainly see his benching as an unfair, political decision. A player of his importance knows that he would be a starter in every other football team around the world. James, on the other hand, still needs some time to adapt to his new role in the midfield. The Colombian star is and will be an important player on Real Madrid's short-term plans, but Isco's determination and excellence when everything is falling apart shows a kind of greatness that cannot be overlooked.
2015 is the year in which Isco will finally become a key player in Real Madrid.