Former Real Madrid star Isco has admitted that he probably should have left the club sooner than he did, eventually departing in 2022 to join Sevilla after nine years at the Bernabeu.
Isco didn’t start well at Sevilla and his contract was terminated within a few months, but he is finding his feet again with city rivals Real Betis at the age of 31 after several months without a club – a proposed move to Union Berlin in January also ended up collapsing.
Signed from Malaga for €30m (£25.8m) in 2013, Isco was a key player for Madrid throughout his first five seasons. That was highlighted no more than in 2018 when he was favoured over Gareth Bale to start to the 2018 Champions League final, but he relatively quickly fell out of favour after that.
Isco started only 11 times in La Liga in 2018/19 and made a decreasing number of appearances across all competitions year on year. In his final season in 2021/22, which delivered a fifth Champions League medal, the attacker didn’t get off the bench at all in Europe and made only three La Liga starts amid the rise of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo into elite performers.
“I don’t feel like I have been treated unfairly in recent years, although I think I could have played more. Football is complex and you have to know how to adapt to each situation. I choose to focus on what I can do to change things, rather than what others can do,” Isco reflected to AS.
“I always tried to do my best [at Real Madrid], although maybe I should have left sooner because of my situation near the end of my stay there.”