What is wrong with Isco? It is a good question that Real Madrid have been asking for some time.
The former Malaga playmaker has lost his form and prominence in the side, and in a most worrying way too.
He was a substitute at the Parc des Princes in midweek (playing only eight minutes), and when Zinedine Zidane started him at Ipurua on Saturday, he had little impact.
It wasn’t for a lack of running or looking for the ball but Isco just couldn’t impact proceedings in a meaningful way.
Los Blancos’ best moves didn’t go through his boots, which have lost their shine in recent months.
No longer is the genius coming out of the lamp when it is rubbed.
Isco appears hidden, with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio now moving above him in the pecking order given their recent performances.
He wasted an opportunity to show what he can do and Madrid didn’t win thanks to his performances.
“I see him doing well but he’s just a little bit worse than the other players because we had difficulties and weren’t so good on the ball,” said Zidane when explaining the performance of Isco and Gareth Bale too.
“They fought hard, ran a lot and showed character though, just like the rest of their teammates.”
A little less than a month ago, Isco started against Paris Saint-Germain in a vital Champions League tie at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
He responded on that occasion but sine then, there have been no magical performances from the magician and there’s no sign of the rabbit trying to get out of the hat.
Since that first leg with PSG, Isco has started in four of Real’s seven games – against Leganes, Espanyol, Getafe and Eibar – without being at his best.
However, if there is someone in the squad who can recover from poor form then it is him.
When Real Madrid ruled Europe and Spain last season, Isco played an important role.
He is a special player and because of players like Isco, you have to believe in magic.