Isco to battle with Fede Valverde for midfield spot

The absence of Toni Kroos from Real Madrid’s squad to face Real Betis on Sunday sees a possible midfield spot available for Isco, though the ongoing rift with manager Santiago Solari means the decision is not a given.

As witnessed in the recent Copa del Rey clash against Leganes, youngster Fede Valverde was picked ahead of Isco in the line-up, despite indications from the pre-match training session that the Spanish international was to start.

The decision is not just down to a matter of individual quality: Isco would make Madrid more attacking and open while Valverde provides more tactical discipline.

Isco is a crowd favourite and his years of experience would normally make the decision a simple one but Valverde has proven himself capable of holding his own in recent months.

Isco, a year to forget

As for Isco, this season has been very tough. He began as an indispensable member of Julen Lopetegui’s team but an unfortunate appendicitis issue took him out of the side.

Once Solari replaced Lopetegui, things changed drastically, with the Argentine using the Spaniard just five times and not starting him since the 5-1 loss at Barcelona.

The big question on everybody’s lips ahead of Madrid’s trip to Betis will surely be: Valverde or Isco?