Competition comes with the territory in all walks of life and, in the football world, benefits the team and fans alike. James Rodríguez and Isco are vying for a single spot in Rafa Benítez's Real Madrid side, and the pre-season action has made it clear that when the shoe is not on one foot, it is on the other.
With the BBC in place, there is only room for three midfielders, two of whom - Luka Modric and Toni Kroos - look nailed-on starters. James appears to be slightly ahead in the pecking order, but Isco is gunning to raise his game and win over his new coach.
The stats from last season make interesting reading. The Spaniard actually made more appearances (53 to the Colombian's 46), although it must be remembered that both James and Gareth Bale had spells on the sidelines, which opened the doors to the former Málaga man. Where minutes are concerned, there isn't much in it: James clocked up 3,507 to Isco's 3,755.
Such healthy competition is par for the course at a club as demanding as Real Madrid. Karim Benzema's battle with Gonzalo Higuaín and Fábio Coentrão's challenge to Marcelo are just two recent examples of positions where players have had to earn their berth. Isco is well aware of James's ability, but is hopeful that he can play an important role under Benítez, a coach famed for his love of rotation.