Spain's thumping of Argentina has left a trail of consequences, proof that there was little friendly about an important game. Despite the absence of Lionel Messi, the game was a shop window for the top level. Some failed to take advantage of it, like Gonzalo Higuain, while others improved their image, like Isco, who as well as scoring a hat-trick produced a fine performance. Isco's exhibition demonstrated that there is no national team in the world with the ability to generate midfielders like La Roja, who seem to be going through a key generational change.
Football evolves in many ways, but those who have the midfielders, in the long term, keep the ball, dominate and have the biggest chance of winning. But not all that shimmers is gold: at the end of the game, in the euphoria, Isco sent a dart in Zinedine Zidane's direction, reminding his coach of an uncomfortable truth: "At Madrid, I don't have the confidence that a footballer needs." Even though he tried to backtrack and nuance his comments, the dart had been thrown. Because what Isco's performance against Argentine showed was that the great players need support, continuity and an ecosystem which fits their play, something he's not had at Madrid.
Because Zidane, his biggest fan last season, has stepped back this year. He's benched Isco for the biggest games and he's made him feel less important. Curiously, the best Isco appears when he plays for a Spain side much more similar to Barcelona than to Madrid: the more ball, the more possession and the closer to Andres Iniesta, the better the former Malaga man plays. For that reason, his recital hid a painful truth: his performances peak in a team of ballers. His words at the end of the game were no accident.