Zinedine Zidane insists Isco has always been important for Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane says it is useless trying to read his mind when it comes to Isco after the Spaniard underlined his worth to Real Madrid against his former club Malaga.

Isco scored one and set up another at La Rosaleda in a comfortable 2-1 victory for a much-changed Real side, following Wednesday’s last-gasp Champions League win over Juventus.

Diego Rolan grabbed a consolation for Malaga with the last kick of the game but the result was never in doubt.

Isco has been in an out of Real’s team – with rumours growing that he could be up for sale in the summer – but did himself no harm with the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich looming next week.

“He has always been important, despite what everyone thinks,” Zidane said of Isco. “He is important, even if sometimes you think I have something else in my head.

“We are happy with [Isco’s] game, and with his goal. It is important to score sometimes too. He played a great game back home, and I am happy for him and the team.

“The fans here received him very well and he deserved that. He has been an important player for Malaga, and today he is for Madrid.”

Victory means Los Blancos leapfrog Valencia, who were beaten by Barcelona on Saturday, but remain four points behind Atletico Madrid in second.

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Watch: Real Madrid star Isco's reaction after goal against Malaga

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Isco had another night to remember as Real Madrid secured all three points against Malaga on Sunday night.

The Spaniard, who recently commented about how he wants to impress manager Zinedine Zidane after being left frustrated by a lack of game time, scored a magnificent curling free-kick and provided an assist as well.

The highlight of Isco’s spectacular performance was not just his contribution towards the team’s cause or how he lived up to Zidane’s confidence but his reaction when his free-kick went inside the net.

The 25-year old, in what was a classy gesture, did not celebrate his goal, and instead apologised to the fans of his former team, who in return stood up to applaud the talented midfielder’s moment of brilliance.

And the exchange of respect did not go unnoticed as many reached out to Twitter to express their emotions. Below we take a look at the goal and Isco’s wonderful reaction.

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Real Madrid player ratings as Isco gets a 9 for a starring display against former side Malaga

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Real Madrid managed to secure a 2-1 win away to Malaga in La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for the encounter but Isco opened the scoring against his former side in the first half before Casemiro finished off a fine move in the second period to double the away side’s advantage.

Rolando pulled one back for the hosts in stoppage time but the final whistle was blown soon after, handing Los Blancos the win.

Here’s how the Madrid players perform.

STARTING XI

Keylor Navas 7 – Denied Iturra in a one-on-one and made a couple of string punches in the second half.

Dani Carvajal 7 – Hardly troubled. Made a few good ventures forward, setting up Benzema on one occasion.

Sergio Ramos 7 – Solid in defence and very nearly scored on the break.

Jesus Vallejo 4 – Completely missed his clearance and allowed Rolando to score at the death.

Theo Hernandez 6 – Bombed forward at every opportunity and whipped in a couple of good crosses.

Marcos Asensio 5 – Poor with his delivery. None of his eight crosses found a team-mate. Top marks for effort though.

Casemiro 7 – Had the ball stolen off him as Iturra went clean through on goal only to be denied by Navas. Great run to score Madrid’s second.

Mateo Kovacic 7 – One of his better performances in recent times. Tested the keeper on one occasion and was good with his passing.

Isco 9 – Phenomenal display against his old team. Sublime free-kick, an assist and plenty of attacking verve.

Karim Benzema 7 – Another good performance with plenty of creativity but lacking the finishing touch. Created the second well but should’ve had a couple of his own.

Lucas Vazquez 6 – Created a chance for Benzema right from the off. His lax closing down allowed the cross to come in for Malaga’s goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Dani Ceballos 6 – Replaced Asensio in the 66th minute and kept the ball well.

Borja Mayorla 6 – Replaced Isco in the 72nd minute and had one shot on goal but was straight at the keeper.

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