x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Malaga's Isco turning heads as 'new Andres Iniesta' on the horizon

The 21-year-old playmaker who continues to blossom, especially since the departure of Santi Cazorla.

Malaga's Isco is making scouts look up and take notice. Manuel Bruque / EPA
Malaga's Isco is making scouts look up and take notice. Manuel Bruque / EPA

When one major European club watched the Malaga star Isco recently, the report back was less than scientific.

"He's good, but not quite quick enough and his head is too big for his body," was the view.

Spain does not share that view of the 21-year-old playmaker who continues to blossom, especially since the departure of Santi Cazorla. Hailed as the "new Andres Iniesta", Isco brings much needed unpredictability to Malaga's attack and he has thrived domestically and in the Uefa Champions League.

With a Uefa ban meaning no European football for Malaga next season, fans fear they will lose him, even though he recently signed an improved contract with a bigger buyout clause. That is probably to guarantee a higher fee if he is sold.

Isco has been in further good news as he was selected for Spain. Although he has scored four goals in three league games for Malaga, his game is not just about his ability to finish, but also well-timed runs and precise passing.

Although locally born and raised in Costa del Sol the tourist resort of Benalmadena, Isco was getting limited first-team experience at Valencia when Malaga paid €6 million (Dh29.7m) for him in 2011. Manuel Pellegrini, the coach, quickly made him one for now as he was named Spain's Young Player of the Year.

Malaga face Porto in the Champions League, where their young star who is anything but a bighead will again be the centre of attention.

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