Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane lauded matchwinner Isco following his goal and assist during Los Blancos' 2-1 win against former side Malaga on Sunday evening, insisting the 25-year-old is a key component to the Spanish capital outfit.
The attacker struck first at La Rosaleda with a superb 25-yard free kick, which he chose not to celebrate, before teeing up Casemiro for a tap-in in the second half; rounding off a brilliant team move.
Isco just casually scored that free-kick, said sorry, and got an ovation. Might be the smoothest thing I've ever seen.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) April 15, 2018
And despite Diego Rolan's consolation for the hosts, who now sit 14 points from safety and looked destined for a spell in the Segunda Division, the biggest cheer from the home fans was their standing ovation towards the Spain international as he was substituted with 20 minutes remaining; something Zidane insisted to ESPN the player deserved.
"We are happy with [Isco's] game, and with his goal", the Frenchman said. "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."
The victory lifted Real Madrid back into third place following Valencia's 2-1 defeat to runaway LaLiga leaders Barcelona on Saturday evening, and Zidane claimed the win was crucial following their 3-1 Champions League defeat to Juventus in midweek, albeit they progressed through to the semi-finals on aggregate.
"We are happy to be back into third place", he added. "We played a very serious game, respecting the rival, it is not easy to play against a team who maybe do not deserve to be bottom of the table.
"We were not happy after the defeat at home to Juve. We were happy to go through, but not to lose the game. We had to win today, and we did that."