Over the last six seasons, Isco has had up and down performances in El Clasico but with the certain set up of Real Madrid’s squad right now, the upcoming game on December 18 is the prime moment for him to finally make his mark on this rivalry.
Having been around for 17 different match ups between the two Spanish giants, the attacking midfielder has had some good games and some bad games against Barcelona but no performance has been too notable.
With James Rodriguez still out due to injury and Eden Hazard now out as well, this is the golden moment for the Spaniard to finally take back his place in the team and the stage to do so will be the Camp Nou.
Let’s look back at Isco’s run-ins with Barcelona over the years.
During his first season with Real Madrid (2013/14), the attacking midfielder played a total of five minutes over the two games in LaLiga, (both of which Real lost). But then, he played 88 minutes in the Copa del Rey final receiving a caution in the process of helping Real push to victory.
In the 2014/15 season, there was an increase in playing time. Isco played 84 minutes for the first league El Clasico (which Real won at home) and played 80 minutes in the away game which Real lost. Still, a significant improvement in playing time and this is where he started holding equal responsibility within the team. Personally, this was one of his better seasons with Real as he posted a combined 19 goals and assists across all competitions.
However, during the 2015/16 season his action was again limited and he was arguably reprimanded for it. For the first game of the season, Barcelona thumped Real at the Santiago Bernabeu 4-0. Isco came on the for 29 minutes but received a straight red in the process. For the second match up he sat on the bench.
The 2016-17 games were also pretty slow for Isco, managing 66 minutes in the first matchup (a 1-1 draw) and the second, which Real loss, he sat on the bench again. Interestingly enough, this was his most successful years wearing the white jersey of having a seasons best 20 goals and assists across all competitions.
In the next season, Isco’s personal record continued to flourish and Real kicked off the season with the Supercopa win over Barcelona. He played a full 90 minutes in the first leg and registered his first assist against them. Sat out during the second leg. During the 0-3 loss, Isco sat on the bench and then was out for the second after a shoulder injury.
Last season however, Isco wasn’t lucky as he played a full 90 minutes in Real’s humiliating 5-1 loss and then came on as a sub for 14 mins with another 1-0 loss in the bag.
But don’t let the game results misconstrue the idea of Isco’s contribution to the performances because there were moments where the midfield magician was playing some of his best football.
In fact, we’re slowly seeing him regain a place in Zidane’s lineup with significant minutes on the pitch and the performances justify the decision to let him play.
So far this season, Isco has worked his way back into Zidane’s good books recording some good performances - most notably against Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga and Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Champions League (UCL).
Zidane’s crew only has a few more games nly has a few ,orebefore they meet up with their rivals for what could be a very important game in terms of the title race. Adding his first goals and more assists against Barcelona is surely on his mind as well.
The resurgence of Isco and his talents is coming up right in time for this months El Clasico to become major game for both the team and his career and he needs to make the most of the opportunity if chosen by Zidane.