Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Zidane happy for Isco´s impact

SoccerNews in La Liga 31 Mar 2019

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Zinedine Zidane urged Isco to maintain his fine form after the midfielder scored for the second time in two LaLiga games since the Real Madrid coach’s return.

Isco equalised for Madrid in Sunday’s 3-2 victory at home to bottom side Huesca, with the five-goal thriller settled by a Karim Benzema strike in the 89th minute.

The Spain international did not start any LaLiga matches under Zidane’s predecessor Santiago Solari but has been reintroduced into the fold by the Frenchman.

Solari questioned Isco’s commitment and attitude during his brief time in charge of Madrid and Zidane warned the midfielder to keep up his performance levels.

“We all know the player Isco is,” Zidane told a post-match news conference.

“I have started him twice, he has scored two goals, so I am happy for him.

“We know the importance Isco has in the squad. Now he must keep training well.”

Benzema’s 14th LaLiga goal of the season ensured he has now found the net against all 34 teams he has ever faced in the competition.

Reports have indicated Madrid will invest heavily in Zidane’s squad ahead of the 2019-20 season, with players including Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe linked, but the coach feels there will still be a place for his compatriot.

“This year is maybe Karim’s best year,” Zidane said of the former France forward.

“I will count on him, there are nine games left, and that is the most important, to finish the season well.

“Then we will see what happens, but Karim is a player at this club. I don’t believe that will change.”

With Thibaut Courtois ruled out by a thigh injury, Zidane handed a start to Madrid’s third-choice goalkeeper Luca Zidane, who made only his second LaLiga appearance.

“I am happy for him, for his debut here [at home], with a victory,” Zidane said of his 20-year-old son. “But that is Luca, he is the third keeper. Thibaut was out and I wanted to give Keylor [Navas] a rest after playing with his country. It came out well.

“It was a bit of a crazy game, nice to watch. I am sticking with the victory. We can play much better, that is clear, but you must also congratulate the opponent who played a great game and maybe did not deserve to lose.

“I try and pick the best team for each game. People can always think that I want to keep everyone happy, so I give minutes to this one, or that one. I don’t try to keep people happy, that cannot happen.

“I was not picking my son, but a player in Real Madrid’s squad. I see him as one other player for the team.”

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