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Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [fɾanˈθisko roˈman alarˈkon ˈswaɾeθ]; born 21 April 1992), commonly known as Isco ([ˈisko]), is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. He is often described as one of the best attacking midfielders in the world.
Isco began his career as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker: at Málaga, under Manuel Pellegrini, he often played in an attacking role in the team’s 4–2–3–1 formation. Following his move to Real Madrid, manager Carlo Ancelotti also played him in a deeper midfield playmaking role requiring more sacrifice and defensive duties than his natural position. He has also been deployed as a winger on occasion. A quick, skilful and creative player, Isco is known for his natural ability to pick out an inch-perfect pass, dribble effortlessly through two or three challenges or drift a shot into the top corner of the goal. His one-step-ahead reading of the game, his anticipation of space and the general directing of his side’s performances are his most common traits.
In 2013, Isco was credited by Marca journalist Pablo Polo as being “the most promising young player in Spanish football”, comparing his strength, skill, and low centre of gravity to Sergio Agüero, and his vision and passing abilities to Zinedine Zidane. Former Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas predicted in 2015 that Isco would become Spain’s most important player.
He began his career at Valencia, playing mainly in its reserve team, before joining Málaga in 2011. His performances at Malaga earned him the Golden Boy award in 2012, and a €30 million move to Real Madrid in June 2013.
Isco represented Spain at various youth levels, including at the 2012 Olympics, and made his senior international debut in 2013.