Isco paid tribute to Zinedine Zidane for his role in developing his talents after signing a new five-year Real Madrid contract.
The Spain international joined Madrid from Malaga in 2013 and has enjoyed an immensely successful time at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning 11 trophies with the club.
It was announced on Thursday the 25-year-old had agreed a new deal which will tie him to the club until 2022, rewarding him for becoming a key player in Zidane’s squad.
Isco has not always had everything his own way at Madrid, however, with James Rodriguez’s arrival in 2014 providing him with competition and forcing the Spaniard to accept a squad role.
But with James’ loan move to Bayern Munich in the close-season, Isco’s success in their duel was apparent and the Valencia youth product praised Zidane for his guidance during those more difficult periods.
“I’ve grown as a footballer,” Isco told reporters at a media conference. “I’ve improved, and perhaps I score now as I play closer to the area.
“Zizou [Zidane] has been very important. He’s put me there [in a more advanced role]. I’ve also had to have patience when I didn’t have as many opportunities. But it has always been my idea to stay here and hopefully I do for many years.
“The truth is I’m very happy and proud to be able to keep playing for the best team in the world. Eleven trophies in four years is unbelievable – I couldn’t have hoped for more.”
@isco_alarcon‘s contract extension.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) September 14, 2017
Before Zidane’s arrival at Madrid, Isco was often deployed in a deeper role, a position which failed to make the most of his craft in the final third.
But Zidane refused to follow a similar path to some of his predecessors, another thing Isco believes Frenchman deserves credit for.
“The boss has been very important for me,” Isco added. “He has given me a lot of confidence in difficult moments, and I’ve responded to that.
“I think he’s right, because I’m now playing further forward. He knows me, has done for many years and knows how to get the best out of me.
“Since the day he arrived he has always told me that he’s counting on me, that he trusts me, from the first moment.
“I’ve been patient when others have been more involved. That’s what a team is all about, but I took my chance.”
Isco signed off by explaining what Real Madrid means to him, and he was unequivocal about the stature he believes the club has.
“It’s hard to explain [what Madrid means] in words,” he said. “It’s the biggest club in history.
“Everyone wants to be a Real Madrid player. I’m lucky to here with the best players in the world. Madrid has helped me achieve many of my dreams since I was little.”
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