||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
Isla playing for Chile in 2013
|Full name||Mauricio Aníbal Isla|
|Date of birth||12 June 1988|
|Place of birth||Buin, Chile|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Right wingback / Midfielder|
|Queens Park Rangers
(On loan from Juventus)
|2014–||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||11||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Mauricio Aníbal Isla (born 12 June 1988) is a Chilean footballer who plays for Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, on loan from Italian side Juventus, and for the Chilean national team. He plays mainly as a right wing-back but he can also play in numerous other positions, including as a right full-back or centre midfielder.
Isla started in the youth ranks of Universidad Católica in 1999 as a forward. However his lack of height caused him to switch positions to defender, as Católica lacked quality youth defenders. Isla played well enough in the new position to earn a call-up to the first team in 2006, but never played an official match and in 2007, coach José del Solar sent him back to the youth team.
Isla had a notable performance during the summer of 2007 in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada and was thereafter signed by Udinese of the Serie A in Italy on a 5-year contract. He can both defend and attack and has been known to turn innocent possession-based games into quick-paced counter-attacks with ease. His technique is well accompanied by a surprising pace and stamina.
Isla made his professional debut on 19 December 2007 versus Palermo in the Coppa Italia. On 8 March 2008, Isla played his first game as a starter in Serie A also against Palermo, a game which ended in a 1–1 draw. After the departure of Simone Pepe, Isla often played as a right wing-back in a 3–5–2 formation during Udinese's 2010–11 Serie A campaign, due to a long-term injury to Dušan Basta. In that season, he was instrumental in helping Udinese finish fourth, thus gaining qualification to the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League play-off round.
On 15 June 2012, Juventus announced Isla's arrival to a medical ahead of a prospective move to join the team for the upcoming 2012–2013 season. Following his move to Juventus, Isla said moving to Juventus was his dream come true and that he was excited to join his Chilean team-mate Arturo Vidal. Isla told TVN:
"This is a dream come true: We are going to be the strongest team in Italy. It is important for me as a player, but it is also vital for my family. I have been working for years to get to this point. In Udine I became a professional. But I have always said that sooner or later I would go to a bigger club like Juve. There I can challenge for trophies. I want to play and win something important, like the Champions League."
Queens Park Rangers (loan)
On 6 August 2014, Isla joined Queens Park Rangerson loan for the 2014–2015 Premier League season, with an option of a permanent deal at the end of the season for a reported £8M fee. He made his debut away against Tottenham Hotspur. He made his home debut in the next league game against Sunderland, adapting to a new right-back role in a changed formation, helping the R's to their first league win and clean sheet of the season. Isla adapted quickly to the Premier League and this was helped when when he was joined at QPR by his national teammate and close friend Eduardo Vargas, who plays just in front of him in QPR's 4-4-2 formation. This started to show when he provided an assist for Charlie Austin against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. After settling in to life in West London, Isla signaled his intention to take up the option of making the loan permanent at the end of the season.
2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Isla took part with Chile in the 2007 South American Youth Championship, where Chile qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. During the U-20 World Cup Isla was noticed worldwide for his skill with the ball and versatility. Isla was an integral part of the team that finished in third place. In the quarterfinal game versus Nigeria, Isla played defender, midfield, and forward due to a number of injuries to other squad members. The game went into extra time after finishing scoreless in regulation and in the added time, Chile scored four goals. Two of the goals came from Isla, one from the penalty spot. After each goal Isla ran over to the Chilean telecast camera (which was marked by a Chilean flag) and dedicated his goals to his grandmother and aunt, who was pregnant. This tournament and his performance in it led Isla to be transferred to Serie A team Udinese before his professional debut in the Chilean league, a very rare occurrence.
New Chilean coach Marcelo Bielsa called Isla up at the age of 19 for his first full Chile senior squad international cap in September 2007 in a friendly against Switzerland, the hosts of Euro 2008, versus his club-mate Gökhan Inler. He started as a centre midfielder. This was his debut as a professional player, before making his first team debut on Udinese. His strong performances earned another call-up in the next friendly against Israel, where he came on as a second-half substitute. He played his first 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match in March 2009 as a starter versus Peru. Isla made another start against Uruguay where, in a scoreless draw, he was sent off after 33 minutes following two yellow cards. He was a starter in all of Chile's four 2010 World Cup games. He also played in 3 of 4 matches in the 2011 Copa América, and playing in 13 of 16 matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification. He is the only right-back in the current Chilean squad, despite having alternatives such as olympic medalist Cristián Álvarez, and youngsters Stefano Magnasco and Miiko Albornoz
- "A lo único que le tengo miedo es al mar" (in Spanish). Las Últimas Noticias. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Isla and Asamoah undergo medicals". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Isla: Juventus move will be a dream come true". Goal.com. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- "QPR sign Juventus defender Mauricio Isla on season-long loan". 6 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Queens Park Rangers". BBC Sport. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "CHILEAN ATTACKER EDUARDO VARGAS JOINS QPR". 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Manchester City". BBC Sport. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "QPR's Isla has no intention of returning to Juventus". 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- Mauricio Isla at National-Football-Teams.com
- Mauricio Isla – FIFA competition record
- Profile at La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian)