‘Illarramendi the new Schuster’

Former Real Sociedad boss Juan Manuel Lillo believes new Real Madrid signing Asier Illarramendi could be the new Bernd Schuster.

Lillo was in charge at Anoeta when the Basques failed to achieve promotion from La Segunda in the 2008-09 season, and says as soon as he saw the midfielder play he was convinced he would end up at one of Europe’s big clubs.

“Real Madrid has signed a superb player, a playmaker. He is a classic midfielder whose positioning is spot on and his ability to quickly decide on the team's best move is second to none.

“He is not someone who overcomplicates matters. You will rarely see a Hollywood pass but more correct control, followed by a precise kick of the ball. Illarra is a specialist passer, “explained Lillo in an interview with Marca.

“Over the last season he has burst onto the footballing stage and has learnt many different ways of distributing the ball. He has become visibly more confident.

“He doesn't just look for the short pass or the easy way out – he gets his head up and very quickly scans the park to see what options are available, perhaps switching the play or a long, deep pass.

“At Real Sociedad he proved effective playing alone as a holding player or gladly doubling with another midfielder. He is also effective with someone backing him up, allowing him to get forward with more freedom of movement to create danger.

“Illarra is also a good option as a right-winger, but he could be the real backbone of any side and can be the new [former Madrid and Barca player] Schuster.

“He gets stuck when there is a loose ball and his physical presence is often the deciding factor in who ends up winning it,” concluded Lillo.

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