Isco was right not to kiss the badge

It’s summer, which means it’s time for Real Madrid to start unveiling players at the Santiago Bernabeu to the cheers of Madridistas and flashes of cameras.

On Wednesday, it was Isco’s turn in Los Blancos’ spotlight, after confirming a move from Malaga and a five-year contract in the Spanish capital.

“This is your house, welcome to Real Madrid,” said club president Florentino Perez as he handed the 21-year-old the No. 23 shirt, previously worn by David Beckham. (Quote via

The Euro U-21 Championships winner appeared delighted with his new move, but he caused consternation when he refused to kiss the badge of his new employer. In lieu of his own lips, his brother kissed the crest on the new shirt.

In a subsequent press conference, Isco explained his reticence by saying he wanted to “earn the right” to kiss the badge with his performances on the pitch.

This is a reasonable explanation, but some have perceived it as a lack of loyalty. It was recently revealed by Spanish paper El Mundo Deportivo that Isco is a lifelong Barcelona fan. In 2009, he was quoted expressing anti-Madrid sentiments (translated via

“I’ve always been a bit antimadridista and I still am. I have the feeling it’s an arrogant club, and without humility you don’t get anywhere.”

“” point out that the new Madrid star even has a dog named Messi. With these “skeletons” in his closet, it is understandable why he did not feel inclined to kiss Madrid’s badge.

But regardless of any affection for Barca, Isco was absolutely right to avoid this ridiculous football cliche.

Why on earth should a man who grew up 350 miles from Madrid be pressured to express an undying passion for a club for whom he hasn’t kicked a ball? How could he claim to bleed white when the ink is still wet on his contract?

The fact is that most footballers do not play for the clubs they support. For them, football is a job—a desire to win is not the same thing as unconditional love for their employer.

Frankly, it is hard to think of anything less sincere than a player kissing his badge on his chest.

Read in full at Bleacher Report.

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