Isco will reportedly start over Gareth Bale for Real Madrid in tonight’s Champions League Final against Juventus.
According to Marca, Isco “has earned” a starting spot in Madrid’s XI after matching the “magic at his feet” with “effort and hard work” in recent months.
The newspaper explains Zinedine Zidane values the midfielder’s “influence in games” over any notion of magic and that Juve boss Max Allegri is “concerned” by how Los Blancos play differently with the Malaga native in their team.
That could be seen in last season’s Final against Atletico Madrid, when Isco “returned control to Los Blancos” after he replaced Toni Kroos in the 70th minute.
Stopping the Bianconeri’s “quick counterattacks” will be key in Marca’s eyes, but it is nonetheless convinced that the 25-year-old “can leave his stamp without neglecting the defensive facet”.
Bale is still not back at 100 percent, although “his thrust, pace and presence” may be called upon.
Juve, on the other hand, are expected to abandon their regular 4-2-3-1 formation for a 3-4-3, with Andrea Barzagli partnering Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in central defence and an attacking trident of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic.
Juventus (probable): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Alves, Pjanic, Khedira, Alex Sandro; Dybala, Higuain, Mandzukic
Real Madrid (probable): Keylor; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo