Real Madrid put on a big welcome on Wednesday for Spanish international Isco, acquired late last month from Malaga.
"We have before us a footballer who, at 21, has already won over many Spanish fans with his creative, quality soccer," club president Florentino Perez said, presenting Francisco Roman Alarcon to some 7,000 Real Madrid supporters at Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Isco, winner of the 2012 Golden Boy award for the best young soccer player in Europe, scored 14 goals over two seasons with Malaga and helped lead the team to a Champions League quarterfinal berth this past season.
He also was one of the standouts on the Spanish side that captured the title at June's European Under-21 soccer championship in Israel, and he made his debut with Spain's main national squad in February in a friendly.
Isco "had other offers," Perez said, but settled on Real Madrid because it would give him the opportunity to play alongside "unique footballers and excellent teammates."
The club president recalled that he was at the Bernabeu just a few days ago to present trophy-laden Carlo Ancelotti as the Blancos' new coach.
"We are trying to realize the desires of our fans. Ancelotti was the first step and now, little by little, to strengthen the roster," Perez said of a lineup that already includes world-class talent such as Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I expect to enjoy myself a lot here," Isco told the fans. "To bring enjoyment to everyone and to win many titles for Real Madrid."
The 2012-2013 season left Real Madrid fans with a bitter taste, as the perennial powerhouse finished a distant second in La Liga, fell in the Champions League semifinals for the third consecutive year and was upset in the Copa del Rey final by Atletico Madrid. EFE