Real Madrid's Ancelotti lauds two-goal hero Isco

AFP, Sunday 1 Sep 2013

Isco scored twice for Real Madrid during their 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid's Francisco Alarcon 'Isco', centre right, is surrounded by various Athletic Bilbao players during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday Sept. 1, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed the impact that Isco has made since arriving at the club from Malaga after the midfielder scored twice in Real's 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The Spanish international scored either side of Cristiano Ronaldo's first goal of the campaign to ensure that Ancelotti's men maintained their 100 percent start to the season.

The Italian had special praise for his goalscorers and Luka Modric, who also excelled in midfield.

"I think that Modric had a fantastic match, as did Isco, and Cristiano scored which is always important for a forward," Ancelotti told a press conference afterwards.

"Isco is doing very well, he looks like he has been playing here a long time. He has shown his personality, quality and ability.

"He has just as much quality on the wing as in the centre, but the defensive work he is doing on the wing is very important. When we are attacking he can go where he wants and he is very good at choosing the right place on the pitch."

The fight for places in the Madrid midfield saw Germany international Mesut Ozil left on the bench and that competition is only likely to become more intense once Gareth Bale completes his expected move from Tottenham Hotspur before the transfer window closes on Monday.

Ozil denied earlier in the week that he was set to leave Madrid with English clubs said to be interested, but Ancelotti admitted there could also be players leaving the Bernabeu before the deadline.

"I really don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. I can't say anything today. It could be that things change both in players coming in and leaving.

"It is normal that Ozil is not happy. I don't like players that are happy to be on the bench. It is a management decision. Angel Di Maria has rhythm, intensity and I prefered him for this match, that is all."

There could also be a significant departure from Athletic in the next 24 hours as Ander Herrera was benched by coach Ernesto Valverde after the Basques rejected a 30 million euro ($36.7 million, £25.5 million) bid from Manchester United for the midfielder in recent days.

However, Valverde insisted United's interest hadn't played a part in his team selection and that Ander would be staying unless the English champions pay his 36 million euro buyout clause.

"It didn't have anything to do with United. He wouldn't even have been on the bench in this case," he said.

"I don't think I have to talk with him to convince him to stay. As I understand it, it is not going to happen, that is the impression I have.

"It is not often that a club pays 36 million euros for a player. Maybe in Madrid people are used to it, but in Bilbao we're not. I don't think there will be any movement in the team."

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