The official website for European football

Isco stays grounded despite Málaga's ascent

Published: Saturday 16 February 2013, 17.31CET
"Still the young lad I've always been", Málaga CF midfielder Isco talks to Champions Matchday about "magic" Ronaldinho, the revelation of the season and facing FC Porto.
Published: Saturday 16 February 2013, 17.31CET

Isco stays grounded despite Málaga's ascent

"Still the young lad I've always been", Málaga CF midfielder Isco talks to Champions Matchday about "magic" Ronaldinho, the revelation of the season and facing FC Porto.

Talking to Champions Matchday, Málaga CF's 20-year-old attacking midfielder Isco called the Liga club the "revelation of the season so far".

The Boquerones's No22 has been something of a surprise package himself since signing for his home-town side from Valencia CF in 2011, hitting an eye-catching double against FC Zenit St Petersburg on matchday one as well as providing two assists for the Group C winners.

Champions Matchday, the official UEFA Champions League magazine, spoke to the newly-capped Spanish international about scoring goals, signing autographs, and round of 16 opponents FC Porto.

On becoming a star …
I'm very calm about it. It's all happened pretty fast but I'm still the young lad I have always been. Now when I go out people recognise me and ask for a photo or an autograph, but you get used to it. It hasn't changed me in any way.

On his idols …
As a child I always followed Ronaldinho. I really liked what he could do with the ball. To me, it was just like magic.

On training …
I'm still young and there is still a lot I've got to improve – tactics, my defensive play, and I need to score more goals and give more assists. We've been working to improve some things this season and I've taken a step forward. I'm more involved, I play a more attacking game and create more chances.

On Santi Cazorla …
He was a very important player for us and we have really felt his departure. But we've all been trying to make Santi's absence less and less noticeable. I've had to take more responsibilities and play the ball more.

On Málaga's attack …
We have a lot of movement up front, with players like Javier Saviola and Roque Santa Cruz. Saviola is in great form and has been playing better than he has for some time. The whole team have shown that we can play to a really high standard. Málaga have been the revelation of this Champions League season.

On scoring goals …
It hasn't been a big strength of mine. Last season I scored five goals all campaign, this season I have already scored six. I've been working on it, trying to improve day by day – that's key for every footballer. Scoring against Zenit was one of the greatest nights in my career, I remember every minute of it. It feels like it was yesterday.

On Porto …
They're serious opponents, but we have lots of confidence in our ability and we have nothing to lose. In a two-legged tie it is important to score at least one away goal. We will play as we always have, defending well, trying to get a goal and a good result. The outcome depends on many things – there's luck involved too – but I trust my team. We have to take it step by step. Things will happen.

A full version of this interview is in the new edition of Champions Matchday, official magazine of the UEFA Champions League. It is available in digital versions on Apple Newsstand or Zinio, as well as in print, and you can follow the magazine on Twitter @ChampionsMag.

Subscribe here

Last updated: 19/02/13 8.58CET

Related information

Player profiles
    • Isco
    • Real Madrid - Spain
Team profiles features

Who exactly are Zorya Luhansk?
  • Who exactly are Zorya Luhansk?
  • Handy on the wing: Europe's footballing birds
  • Pick of the 2016 WU19 EURO photos
  • Watch Netherlands beat Spain in 2014 final
  • France's Griezmann on 2010 Under-19 triumph
  • The rise of Leicester and England's Jamie Vardy
  • Manchester City signing İlkay Gündoğan in profile
  • EURO cult heroes: 2012 – Jordi Alba
  • Camille Abily introduces champions Lyon
  • EURO history makers: 2012 - Andrés Iniesta
1 of 10