With Isaías making the difficult decision to depart Adelaide United to explore an overseas opportunity after six successful years as a Red, it’s only fair to reminisce on arguably one of our greatest ever players at the Club.
Isaías Sánchez Cortés, simply known as Isaías, has been nothing but the quintessential professional since his arrival in the winter of 2013 from the Spanish Segunda División.
Second only behind Eugene Galeković on the Reds’ all-time appearances list with 181 games, a record four-time Aurelio Vidmar Club Champion – nobody has won more than two – as well as collecting four trophies, signifies the indelible impact the Spaniard will leave on the Reds.
He also served as Captain for the past two seasons, embracing the added responsibility and honouring the armband with immense pride and dignity.
Whenever he crossed the white line, there was a competitive streak that would manifest itself irrespective of being one of the nicest and humble blokes.
It was through that desire to win and strive to always improve and learn which was infectious on his fellow teammates.
You could never fault the Spaniard for a lack of effort or endeavour as he expertly anchored the base of the midfield on a ridiculously consistent basis.
Isaías led by example, naturally, playing with passion and always with a smile on his face. Equally, he could motivate his troops and extract that extra 10 per cent of energy out of them needed to get the Reds over the line, even without being the most vocal.
Away from the field he was a gentleman, approachable and never complained when fulfilling any media obligations.
There was no ego when it came to Isaías, despite his status and everything he had achieved both collectively and individually. He truly was the ultimate professional in every sense of the word.
Isaías was not much of a goal-scoring midfielder given his deep-lying position, finishing with 10 goals to his name. That was never his role. Instead, he helped ignite attacks and was the architect behind countless goals, while protecting the back four.
His ability to control the tempo of matches allowed Adelaide to dictate the game on their terms, akin to a maestro conducting an orchestra. He was Adelaide’s maestro and seemingly got better with age despite how counterintuitive that may sound particularly for a midfielder on the wrong side of 30.
When he did find his way onto the scoresheet he had a habit of them being either timely or top-drawer strikes.
He also built a reputation of being a dead-ball specialist, having scored five free-kicks. Indeed, his most famous of all was the one he curled into the top corner against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2016 Hyundai A-League Grand Final witnessed by over 50,000 fans at Adelaide Oval, and thousands more on television.
His durability is something that is also rarely discussed. Rarely did he suffer a soft tissue injury, and for the first time in his career he played every minute of every available match during 2018/19 – across both competitions.
In his final campaign Isaías also led his team to a second FFA Cup title after defeating Sydney FC in the final in October 2018, avenging the squad’s loss in the decider against the same opponent a year earlier.
His extraordinary season coincided with the Spaniard unsurprisingly named the Aurelio Vidmar Club Champion for the third consecutive time.
Ultimately, that would be his final achievement with the Club after making the tough decision to leave to chase a move abroad. However, his name will forever be enshrined in Reds folklore for everything he accomplished during a successful six-year association.
Si señor si.
Thank you for the memories and all the best for the future, Isa.