Isco talks about the World Cup so far, upcoming match against Iran, the arrival of Julen Lopetegui in Real Madrid and also expresses his ‘anger’ with his club teammate; Cristiano Ronaldo.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
The Spanish midfielder known for his creativity and incredible ball control talks about the World cup campaign so far which hasn’t gone so well as anticipated by the La Rojas, as they drew their opening game against Portugal on 3-3.
In his recent conversation with El Larguero, Isco talked about a number of things and expressed his thoughts on the games yet to be played. He believes that Spain were the better side against Portugal and deserved a victory.
“At the end of the day this is the World Cup and the level of competitivity is fierce, no one is going to gift you a game. We have to remain faithful to our style, to the kind of game we have been playing up until now which has brought us success. It was a shame to draw our opening match, conceding a goal right at the end because we had been playing well.”
Majority of the big teams have failed to win their opening match in the World Cup for the first time. Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and Germany all couldn’t manage to get the three points. Isco believes that World Cup does not guarantee a victory even if 200 percent of an effort is put into it.
“Yes – at the World Cup, everything is complicated. You have to put in 200% in every game and even if you do, that won’t guarantee you’ll win. All of the teams are very motivated, there are some very strong teams and it’s just very, very difficult.”
The Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked hours before the World Cup kicked off as he joined Real Madrid and that did not go down well with the Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The sporting director of Spanish football, Fernando Hierro was then appointed as the coach of the team for the competition. Isco believes that such chain of events was a setback but now the team has recovered for good.
“It’s true that it was a complicated situation for us to be in, but the hope and belief the squad has is way beyond any setback. I think we showed great maturity to deal with what happened and we realize that the most important thing of all is that we are here at the tournament. It’s a nice challenge for us to confront and we have to give everything we’ve got to put any issues behind us; we have to pull together and take this forward like we did against Portugal.”
The attacking-midfielder further revealed that the news of sacking Julen Lopetegui came as a disastrous and was unexpected.
“None of us expected it. [Lopetegui] had been with us for two years, battling to get us to the World Cup, but these things happen in football. The sooner we put it behind us the better – it’s not going to do us any good mulling over the past. Now we have to focus on our football, work hard on our game in training and prepare well for our games. The only thing that counts is what happens on the sporting side.”
Isco admits that he is happy for Lopetegui’s signing with Real Madrid. The pair has worked together in several tiers of the national team and will continue to work at club level now.
“Yes, I’m really happy for him, he deserves it. He’s a great coach who helped me a lot during times when I was struggling to make my mark. I’m sure he’s going to do well at Madrid.”
David de Gea recently fumbled the ball against Portugal which ended up being the second goal for Cristiano Ronaldo on that night. Isco talks about the Manchester United goalkeeper and claims he is an experienced professional who has got the backing of the squad members.
“He has a great deal of experience, he’s one of the best keepers in the world. These things happen and especially to goalkeepers because if a striker makes a mistake it doesn’t matter but if a keeper does, it tends to get magnified. I’ve known David for years, he’s happy, focused, feeling confident and he has the support of the whole squad.”
Isco mockingly admits that he is ‘angry’ with his club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo who scored a hat-trick against Spain in their opening game of the World Cup. Isco believes that though Ronaldo has a poor conversion rate from freekicks nowadays but when the stakes are the highest and he is motivated enough, he delivers.
“Don’t talk to me about Cristiano! I’m not going to speak to him again after what he did the other day… (laughs). He doesn’t have a high strike rate, but when he has his day… his first two goals gave him confidence and got him looking for his hat-trick.”
Isco refrains from commenting if he can win the golden ball at the World Cup for his performances and believes that team is the priority and not the individual awards.
“We’re still at the start and it’s not something I have in mind. The team comes first. If the team does well and we go far then it’s easier to be considered for those kinds of individual awards.”
Isco also commented on the announcement of Griezmann’s decision who made a documentary for it and made it more dramatic. Isco believes that it was a stunt to make more money and hype the news.
“People do a lot of things these days and if it means they can make money then… Money talks these days. I think Griezmann had already made his decision a while ago but wanted to make it more high profile news…”
Lastly, Isco answers where he thinks Griezmann shall play. According to him, the French striker will make any team better wherever he goes.
“I don’t really mind either way. If he stays at Atleti, he will make Atleti a better team and the same if he joins Barça. He’s a very good player who makes a big difference.”
Isco now prepares to face Iran in the second game of the group stage. The middle eastern side is currently leading the group with three points after beating Morocco who scored an own goal in the 1-0 result. The match will be played on 20th June 2018 at 19:00 CET.
All the matches of the World Cup Russia 2018 will be telecasted live all over the globe via the official broadcasting partners of FIFA.