Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, better known as Isco, has started the 2012/13 season with a bang, and has really announced himself on the world stage, after some exemplary Champions League performances.
He came through the famous Valencia academy, which has produced players like David Silva, but only played four games for them in the 2010/11 season, before moving to Andalusian rivals; Malaga, for six million euros, signing a five-year-contract. In his first season at Malaga he had a very solid season, even more so for a teenager, contributing to five goals and five assists in his thirty-two games played, however, after the financial problems which saw star Santi Cazorla move to Arsenal, Isco has really come into his own, and shown the world what he is capable of.
His performance has La Liga has been good, scoring three goals, whilst contributing to one assist and fourteen key passes in his first eighteen games of the season, but it is in the Champions League where he has really come into his own, and has been one of the best players in the tournament so far. The campaign couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the young Spaniard, scoring two goals against Russian giants Zenit, but he’s just gone from strength to strength since then.
He went on to get an assist against both Anderlecht and AC Milan, which has left him joint fourth in the assists chart. Whilst his 2.5 key passes per game leave him joint ninth in the key passes chart, no mean feat for a player still only twenty-years-old, without any previous experience in the competition. However, the statistic that brings Isco into his own is the dribbling statistic, as he has been a constant threat for the opposition, completing the most dribbles in the competition with a grand total of nineteen, in four games, an average of 4.8 a game. To sum up his performances in the Champions League, he is in the ‘WhoScored Best Eleven’ for the Champions League so far, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Arturo Vidal and Shakhtars star Brazilian duo Willian and Fernandinho. His performances have been a huge contributing factor in Malaga’s qualification, with a game to spare, to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, whilst still remaining unbeaten.
You’d expect Isco to move onto big things, if you look at his honours and international record. He won ‘La Liga Breakthrough Player’ in 2012, which had been won by Sergio Busquets and Iker Muniain in the previous two years, two more talented Spaniards. He has also represented Spain at all levels, from under-sixteen, all the way through to playing in the 2012 Olympics at under-twenty-three level. Which shows the national set-up are aware of his talents. He played in the under-seventeen and under-twenty World Cup, as well as the Olympics, scoring a combined four goals.
Isco was called up to the Spain senior squad for their 2012 European Championships Warm-up friendlies with their provisional squad, but failed to make an appearance. After his start to the season, however, it’s hard to imagine he won’t get a chance in the senior side before the end of the season. With all the promising midfielders coming through, it seems Spain’s dominance won’t end, with players like Isco, Thiago, Koke, Ander Herrera and even Juan Mata; it seems Spain’s midfield is in safe-hands for generations to come.
Isco has really set the world alight with his start to the season, and there has been rumours linking him with moves away from Malaga, which is highly unsurprising considering his ability and his seventeen million euros buy-out clause, which could be an amazing deal for a club. There have been whispers of Arsenal and Manchester City being interested in him, and for the price, it would be a coup for a player of his ability and potential. Santi Cazorla leaving has seemed to open a door for Isco and I can’t see any doors closing for him, with his ability and potential, nothing can stop him. He has the world at his feet; another excellent midfielder produced by Spain, and will be key in the next generation of Spanish football.