Soccer

Madrid presents new midfielder Isco to fans and media

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The Canadian Press
7/3/2013 9:15:19 AM
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MADRID, Spain -- Francisco "Isco" Alarcon delighted the several hundred Real Madrid fans with a solo display of ball control at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday.

Madrid officials believe he'll be a great team player, too.

"Isco has what it takes to satisfy a club as immensely demanding as Real Madrid," club president Florentino Perez said at the 21-year-old midfielder's presentation. "We believe in you and your talent."

Isco's transfer from Malaga was completed last week, and his five-year contract was finalized after a medical exam.

Perez praised Isco as one of the most creative and imaginative talents to emerge recently from Spain's youth teams. He said Isco received positive appraisals from experts around the world for his performances for Spain under-21s.

Isco also has one senior cap, appearing in a friendly against Uruguay in February in Qatar.

"This is your house, welcome to Real Madrid," Perez said as he handed Isco a No. 23 shirt with his name on it.

Ten years ago to the day, David Beckham was presented with the No. 23 shirt by Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano when the former England captain joined the club.

"We all know Beckham is a great player and he was presented 10 years ago on today's date with the same number, but I chose this number because it's my brother's birthdate," Isco said.

Isco helped Malaga reach the Champions League quarterfinals last season and guided Spain to the European Under-21 title this summer.

He will have to vie with other attacking midfielders in Madrid's star-studded dressing room, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, and Luka Modric. There are also persistent media reports that talented but troubled Uruguay forward Luis Suarez might yet arrive at Madrid from Liverpool.

Isco confirmed that he had received offers from other clubs, including Manchester City, where his former coach at Malaga, Manuel Pellegrini, is now in charge.

"But it's impossible to say no to Real Madrid and I'm convinced I will find a spot in the squad, although I am aware that it's not a slot that's going to be given away to me for free, I'll have to fight for it."

"Pellegrini did want me, but when I saw that Madrid's offer was serious, I decided," Isco said. "I told Pellegrini that it was impossible to say no to Madrid."

Madrid's new coach, Carlo Ancelotti, praised Isco at his own presentation last week. Isco said he was not fixed on staying an attacking midfielder if Ancelotti thought it best to place him elsewhere on the field.

"I am adaptable and can play wherever the coach decides to place me," he said.

Isco is Madrid's second signing this off-season after it paid Bayer Leverkusen to recover right back Daniel Carvajal.

Isco (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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