The Early Sub-Biggest Stories in World Football: Messi, James and Isco(10/04)

It’s been a real boring couple days for me. After getting into the rhythm of regular league play and middle of the week continental cup play, I was really enjoying the amount of soccer that I was able to enjoy. But it’s once again the international break and I now go into my room and sort my socks until club competition returns. But as we wait for the sweet bliss of club games, there’s still interesting events happening in world football.

-Messi missing time for Argentina. Again. The once seemingly indestructible Lionel Messi will miss time for the Albiceleste once again with a groin injury and will miss games against Peru and Paraguay in World Cup Qualifying. Honestly it’s not that big of a deal. The big deal is really the fact that he misses the Man City match in the Champions League. Argentina may have issues with Peru in Lima but Paraguay should be three points, and there’s deep enough talent to grind out a win in Peru too. Messi has been missing most of the games on international duty since his short retirement after Copa America. Coach Eduardo Bauza for Argentina expressed his frustration for the workload that Barcelona puts on the Argentine talisman. Quite frankly, Bauza has a reason to gripe. Young legs like Neymar and the engine that is Suarez is built for 90 minutes, but Messi is beginning to reach the stage in age where you can’t take so many punishing challenges anymore. Also, I don’t see a problem with letting Arda take charge and work up top with Neymar and Suarez. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Munir recall from Valencia either. Munir, Paco, and Arda should all work in rotation with the talented trio to keep them fresh and healthy.

-State of emergency for Colombia. Speaking of injuries, What is Colombia without their talisman James Rodriguez? I mean seriously the Colombians are talented and have other stars like Bacca and Cuadrado on the side but James is much more than talent for Los Cafeteros. The Captain, the soul of the squad, not to mention he’s been playing well when plugged in by Zizou which has been rare. One can imagine that James would’ve taken these qualifiers like a showcase for Zizou. No Modric? No Casemiro? It was James time. He may still try to go this week, if not next week against Paraguay away and the heavyweight fight against Uruguay in Barranquilla where Suarez and Cavani will surely be dressed. I don’t think Colombia should miss James THAT much against Paraguay. Of course road games are always difficult and South America is deep but Colombia has the talent to come out with a result. The Uruguay game is where they’ll surely miss his creativity to keep Uruguay honest. Uruguay will be pushing the game to Colombia for all 90 minutes. Colombia has a chance against the Uruguayans if James plays and I think he will for at least 60 minutes which could be all Colombia needs. And a few Cavani misses which is an absolute certainty to happen.

-Isco the problem? Yes. And honestly it’s not his fault. When you want to play for a side like Real Madrid that has had midfielders like James, Modric, Ozil, Di Maria, Casemiro, and Khedira go through in the past three years, it’s going to be difficult finding playing time. Isco just can’t quite perform the way all those other names do. He just isn’t as creative and precise as Modric and Ozil, he isn’t as skillful as Di Maria when he was there and he doesn’t have the attacking awareness like James. And it goes without saying that he can’t defend like Khedira and Casemiro. Honestly, Isco should have left when he was of much more value, now he warms the bench for Real Madrid and who knows if he even finds time on the field with Spain with David Silva and Iniesta. Real and Isco’s best option is for him to either be loaned out to another talented side that needs a creative distributor. Or for him to be fully transferred to just anyone Real wants. He has a chance to showcase the same way James was looking to, over this international break. He probably will find some time over the break and he’ll get the opportunity to work with teammates Sergio Ramos, and Alvaro Morata. Isco will also have a chance for Real with all the injuries afflicting the side, so Isco has a chance to show his value yet.

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