Isco, with a new lease of life at Real Betis, looks ahead to facing his former side

How are you experiencing these first months of competition?

Great. I think it’s been good. We continue to grow and we continue to improve. I think we dropped some points that we should have taken, but anyway. I’m happy with the team and I think that from now on we will keep moving upwards. Click this link to start gaming and stand a chance of winning big with a meridianbet.

Individually, do you think it was a statement to vindicate yourself after a difficult season last year?

In the end I was out of action for some time, went some time without playing and I came here to face a nice challenge with the confidence of the club and the coach. For now, things are going well. I’m proving to myself that I still have football in me. I’m enjoying it, which is what I wanted, and I hope both Betis and I have a spectacular season.

Last season you were left without a team in the middle of the season. What goes through your mind in that moment? Because you wanted to continue playing football.

They are hard moments, because in the end you are used to the dynamic, being in a team and competing, so when it stops being that way you feel like you are missing something. But I needed to stop, I needed to disconnect, to clear my mind a little, and it has gone very well for me. I appreciate everything that has happened because that has brought me here, to Betis, and I am very happy.

The first thing you did was get with a personal trainer. How was that? What was that process like, going from training collectively to training individually?

Things change a lot, logically. Training with 25-30 teammates s is not the same as training practically alone. It is an exercise that is, above all, mental. As I said before: I needed to disconnect and clear my mind a little from a few years when things didn’t go the way I wanted. In the end that’s what it is all about: Fall down, get up… and that’s what I’ve done. There was a time when I did not feel comfortable, I was not happy with football, and I refreshed myself, I have returned with enthusiasm and above all I am enjoying it a lot, which was what I wanted.

You have said it several times that you have been ‘vindicated.’ How important is the psychological process, the process of putting yourself in the hands of a professional who also helps you a little to change your mindset, to focus… how important was that for you?

In the end, it is the most important thing, your head. I think you have to have your head right. It’s something normal, because when you feel pain in your leg, you go to the doctor, and I think we have to make it a natural thing. It is very healthy. There are many players who are emphasising the importance of that, and I think it is a positive message that we are giving to society. It is a message of naturalisation and I hope that everyone sees it as something important, which is what it is.

Did quitting football ever cross your mind?

Not really. Ultimately, I’m still young. It is true that I stopped, but it was because I wanted to. I kept getting a lot of offers from a lot of places and I was honest with myself. I didn’t feel ready, I had to do things to be ready and here we are.

The figure of the coach is also very important. In this case, Manuel Pellegrini -with whom you coincided at Málaga. And now you are both at Betis. How is your relationship with Manuel Pellegrini?

Very good. In the end I spoke with him for, I don’t know, two minutes. When the option to come to Betis arose, everything was very easy. We had very good memories of the two years in Malaga and I am very happy to be able to be with him again, to take advantage of the trust that both Pellegrini and the club have given me. I hope we have a very good season.

Let’s go back a little. You left Valencia, you went to Málaga with a great team: With Joaquín, Baptista, then Santi Cazorla arrived… What do you remember about that team? What do you remember about that season and that Málaga side?

I came in after spending five years at Valencia and had begun to play with the elite. They were a team from my city, the team I supported when I was little. The group we formed there those two seasons was the stuff of dreams. The first season we qualified for the Champions League, for the first time in history, and then the Champions League campaign we had was spectacular. We were eliminated in a very cruel way and I think it was one of the worst moments I have had as a player. That’s all that was bad, that little detail. The rest were all good moments and the truth is that I remember that time with great affection.

Then, from Málaga you made the move to Real Madrid. Was that change very hard? Was it very different? In the end, you went from a team that was admittedly playing in the Champions League, to one of the greats in LALIGA. Was that change very hard?

No. I was young. In the end, we young people have a lot of self-confidence, a lot of courage, we want to show what we can do, we are not afraid of anything and in the end it was an incredible change, because in the first year at Real Madrid we won the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Yes, it is a very big change, but it was one of the best times of my career and I am proud to have spent so much time at a club like Real Madrid.

Despite all the talent you had, you have always made a place for yourself. You have always had resilience and in the end you became very important in Real Madrid’s trophies.

Except for the last two years, I think, in Madrid I was always important. I had minutes. I was a starter in the Champions League finals, the Club World Cup finals, the Super Cup, the Copa del Rey… I enjoyed it a lot there, I won many trophies, I shared a dressing room with the best, and I was very happy with my career, and the years I spent there were very happy.

Do you have any special moments? Or is there a moment that you say “I remember this”? Something that has had an impact on you?

Yes. The first Champions League. I believe that all players dream of winning that competition. The first year you join Real Madrid, after the club had gone 12 years without winning it, and in the first year you win it… it is a very good memory; the way it happened, how it seemed like we had lost it… That moment was very epic.

How do you feel about all that pressure that the Betis fans and the Benito Villamarin puts on you?

I always like it. I have noticed their affection from the first moment I arrived, the first time I played at the Villamarín, and when we played away there were always a lot of Beticos… The truth is that it is wonderful, it is a tremendous pleasure and I hope we can all give them a lot of joy this year.

Imagine that we are here in June, and I ask you again, “What would you like to tell me about how the season with Betis has been?

I would like many things. The thing is that it’s very difficult to think about it. I think you have to go game by game. We have a great team that can have a great year. We are in three competitions and I hope we can achieve all the objectives we set for ourselves and I hope the club continues to grow in the way it is, getting better every year. It’s what we all want.

MG Team

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