Seville, Spain. 10th Nov, 2023. SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Francisco Roman Alarcon Suarez ''Isco'' of Real Betis during the UEFA Europe League Group C match between Real Betis and Aris Limassol at Benito Villamarin on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain.

Isco is reviving the art of football one outrageous assist at a time

Isco is perhaps the last bastion of everything pure and perfect about football and the 2010s, from the deft touches to the positional freedom and even the silly top knot hairstyle.

You think of Isco, you think of Real Madrid running wild in the Champions League. You think of flicks and tricks that make you desperate to get onto the astro with your mates. You think of packing him in FIFA Ultimate Team knowing he’s about to make you filthy rich in-game.

It’s impossible to dislike Isco. So when his career came grinding to a halt in 2022 after leaving Real Madrid for nothing, flopping at Sevilla and being without a club, it all just felt very sad.

The tricky Spaniard fading into obscurity after a decade with the greatest club side in the world, the game moving on around him as we watched, just wasn’t fair. Especially not when he still had so much to offer.

Thankfully, he knew that too. And a failed move to Union Berlin wouldn’t be the end of him, but the rebirth of a new Isco championing everything we love about football in the Seville sunset with Real Betis.

Simply put, his revival is reviving us.

Betis put on a clinic as they bullied their way past Aris Limassol in the Europa League with a 4-1 victory, but it’s not the scoreline we’re bothered about.

We’re not even bothered about their gorgeous green kits, or Hector Bellerin and his beautiful hair.

Isco stole the show with an assist that could not only put life on Mars, but also convince managers once again that playing with a traditional number 10 is worth it – purely for the serotonin boost if nothing else.

Looking to put the gloss on an already dominant win in injury time, Betis played out wide from a goal kick to get the ball down the pitch quickly and did so successfully, Abde Ezzalzouli bursting through and slotting under the goalkeeper to finish off a brilliant, three-pass move.

None of that would’ve been possible without Isco, however, who plucked the first pass out of thin air with a touch that still has us scratching our heads and doing our best Gary Neville goal-gasm impressions.

The art of football. The sheer beauty of the game in one outrageous flick.

In an era of number 10s no longer existing and wingers being instructed to retain possession instead of standing up their marker and doing everything they can to thread the ball between their legs, Isco has rocked our world with creativity off the charts.

It’s becoming easier and easier to fall out of love with football these days, but assists like that remind you of just how magic the game can be.

Ball retention is great and possession systems are important, but we need people like Isco to continue championing the game in its purest form. In its most fun form.

The assist is so good it’s got us desperate to throw on the boots on a Friday morning, head out into the back garden and practice that obscene technique.

We won’t do that, because it’ll end in tears and a painful visit to A&E, but it’s the thought that counts. The feeling it provokes.

The moment football stops making us feel, the game is dead. For as long as Isco is around, we don’t have to worry about that.

By Mitch Wilks

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