In what was an expected announcement, Real Madrid have secured the services of Spanish U-21 playmaker, Francisco Roman Alarcon Isco, for a period of five years and for a fee reported to be €27 Million. The Spaniard was also a target for Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City but Real Madrid have pipped the English club to present Isco as Ancelotti’s first signing at the club.
Right from when he made debut with Spain for the U-19’s, Isco has been the cynosure of all eyes and has lived up to all expectations. He has now represented Spain in under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19, under-20, under-21 competitions and finally this year debuted with the senior side. Going by his recent performances in the UEFA U-21 European Championships, Isco’s future in the Spanish national team looks secured.
Blessed with wonderful control like most Spanish midfielders, excellent dribbling skills and the ability to beat players at will, Isco is a worthy back-up to the majestic Andres Iniesta for Spain. At Real Madrid, he will face competition from Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric for the chief playmaker role behind the primary striker.
His passing ability is beyond doubt as he can weave passes at will, gliding forward with a creative zest and causing problems to the opposition. He can even play as a supporting striker and has a terrific right foot capable of the finest finishes as was evident in the recently concluded UEFA U21 championships against Norway when he danced around two Norwegian defenders before unleashing a sumptuous shot with the outside of his right boot into the top corner.
At Malaga, after being bought in 2011 for €6 million from Valencia, Isco played the perfect understudy to Santi Cazorla, who then departed to Arsenal at the end of the season. Manuel Pellegrini built his team around Isco, and under heavy expectations and pressure, the Spaniard shone and dragged his team to a historic quarterfinals in the Champions League. With clubs monitoring his situation closely, the UEFA U21 championships were an indefinite proof of his ability to carry the team and it was inevitable that he would move to a much bigger club.
With Carlo Ancelotti being appointed the new coach and Zidane as his assistant, Isco can expect to be given plenty of chances given the duo’s penchant to give proper opportunities to youngsters to prove themselves rather than discard them early. He can play in a variety of positions across the pitch, exploiting spaces and then helping his teammates thrive thanks to his vision. He is unanimously cited to be the best of the upcoming Spanish players of his generation. Now that he has been signed, what about Kaka?
The Brazilian international has failed to live up to his hefty price tag at Madrid due to various factors such as injuries and less game time. A reunion with his former Milan boss may just be the spark he needs to flourish. But with Ozil and Modric lurking around and given his age, chances of proving himself dwindle significantly at Real Madrid. Ancelotti has expressed his intention of giving Luka Modric a free role rather than that of a deep lying play-maker resembling Andrea Pirlo. Which means Xabi Alonso will still be the undisputed starter in midfield in either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. Sami Khedira has established himself as the engine of the team and it would be very hard for Modric to displace him but with the Croatian international ending last season in ominous form and considering his obvious quality, it would be extremely harsh to deny him first team opportunities.
Then there is the Jese Rodriguez situation. With Zidane vouching for his promotion to the senior team, Jese’s arrival can only compound Kaka’s problems as he plays in the same position as the Brazilian and would be more than willing to be a fringe player in the team in his first season with the Spanish giants.
With the World Cup in Brazil next year, time is running out for Kaka to make a push for one final time to wear the respected Selecao shirt. Brazil have already built a strong enough team around Neymar and Oscar and if Kaka continues to remain on the bench at Real Madrid, there is no chance of him getting picked up to represent Brazil next year.
His wages are also a major factor. Kaka reportedly earns a whopping €9 Million each season. Considering the depth in talent Real Madrid have at their disposal, it would be foolish on their part to keep him on the payroll and then hardly play him. The former AC Milan star is no more the darling of advertisers and his release to another club will definitely let the club free more money to invest in more fruitful ways.
Kaka is still a universally loved footballer but his contribution to Real Madrid has not been to the best of his abilities. With Isco now signed, it would be prudent for the club to create as many opportunities as it can for the future of the team than a player who has struggled to be the star he once was.