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Zinedine Zidane Praises Isco, The Street Football Poet Laureate

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was full of praise for Isco following his decisive performance against Espanyol.

With Karim Benzema recovering from a hamstring injury, Gareth Bale resting due to a hamstring complaint of his own and Cristiano Ronaldo increasing his La Liga tally to 23 shots without a goal, Real Madrid relied on Isco’s best performance of the season to defeat Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday and stay within seven points of early pacesetters Barcelona. 

Isco’s brace, his first league goals of the campaign, saw him draw level with Dani Ceballos, Bale and Marco Asensio as Real’s top scorer in La Liga, telling you everything you need to know about Los Blancos’ slow start domestically. 

But manager Zinedine Zidane was effusive in his praise for Isco after the match, and with good reason. The 25-year-old could’ve given Real the lead within the game’s first minute, but apart from having that one-on-one effort well-saved, the attacking midfielder had one of the finest individual performances in all of Europe this season.

 

“It is just the confidence that Isco has now,” said Zidane after the match. “He knows he is an important player with Real Madrid. He plays as you play in the street, and I like that. He does not get worried if things don’t come off. Hopefully he stays on this path, lately he is really enjoying himself on the pitch, with his teammates. I am happy that we see an Isco getting better all the time.”

Isco’s goals arrived in the 30th and 71st minutes for Real. Ronaldo turned provider for the first one, and Isco applied a supremely confident finish to settle the nerves at the Bernabeu. 

Isco then secured the three points in the second half with another nice finish near the top of the box, Asensio getting credit for the assist on this one.

The goals act as the ultimate form of vindication for Isco’s performance, but you don’t get the full effect of the Spanish international’s brilliance without watching every touch from the footballing artisan. 

Isco will now look to improve on his international record of 22 appearances and six goals when Spain attempt to secure direct qualification for the 2018 World Cup with matches against Albania (October 6) and Israel (Oct. 9).

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