Football

Sergio Ramos: Isco as important for Spain as Real Madrid

Real Madrid and Spain captain Sergio Ramos says Isco is “as important to the club as he is for the national team.”

Isco voiced the frustrations that he has endured at Real Madrid following his hat-trick in Spain’s 6-1 win over Argentina in Tuesday’s international friendly.

The 25-year-old midfielder, who also shone with Spain in Friday’s 1-1 draw at Germany, has played just one full game in his last eight appearances for Los Blancos and claimed that at Real Madrid he “does not have the continuity a player needs.”

“I’ve always said that Isco is a great player and I think he’s had the trust of not only [Spain coach] Julen [Lopetegui] but also [Real Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane in recent seasons,” Ramos told Onda Cero radio. “He is just as important to Real Madrid as he is with the national team.

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“He has played more or less in accordance to his fitness or what the coach [Zidane] required of him.

“There are differences when playing for your club than when playing for the national team. You may play in a different position, the philosophy may vary. But what Isco has to do is to enjoy football and make the most of it. He is young. The happier that he is, the better he will play.”

Isco thanked Lopetegui for the confidence and starring role the national team coach has given him despite not being a regular in Madrid’s midfield line.

Lopetegui said Isco has earned that himself.

“I’m not going to discover anything new about Isco nor the joy I get from having him in the squad or his performances with us,” Lopetegui said. “We want him to be happy to face the World Cup with enthusiasm. I don’t give him the confidence. The player gives that to the coach.”

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Isco signed a new contract with Madrid until June 2022 in September following a sensational 2016-17 campaign.

The 25-year-old was instrumental in Real winning La Liga and the Champions League trophy last season.

With Real 2-0 down against Atletico, Isco scored the tie-killing goal that booked Real’s place in the Champions League final in Cardiff. He was also pivotal in key away wins over Sporting Gijon and Deportivo La Coruna that set Real up for the La Liga title.

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