On Saturday evening, Spain gave Italy a harsh lesson in the trials and tribulations of elite international football, ending the Gli Azzurri’s incredible 11-year – 59 game – unbeaten qualification run, with a comprehensive and awe-inspiring 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

One player who truly encapsulated La Roja’s performance, was that of Real Madrid’s enigmatic midfielder Isco, would produced a masterclass display – just ask Italian star Marco Verratti, who was left grounded in one instant by his Spanish counterpart.

​​Isco dominated the middle of the field, scoring two of Spain’s three goals to secure their lead in the World Cup qualifying group stage, and no one was more impressed than by Verratti who hailed the Real Madrid man.

I suffered a lot against Isco”, Verratti told Spanish media in the Bernabeu mixed zone.

“I was taken aback by his performance. Not even Messi has come close to that level. When I saw his nutmeg, I felt like standing up and applauding too.”

Verratti and Italy’s disappointing performance came after Iniesta’s words of praise for the PSG ace.

“He [Verratti] is an amazing midfielder. He has an amazing sense of position and we will have to be very careful when we’ll defend tomorrow night”, Iniesta said on the eve of the game.

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