Los Blancos kicked of their competitive season with a win over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup clash on Tuesday night, which was a perfect introduction and a huge morale boost for the team ahead of the new campaign.
It was a close call with Real Madrid struggling to stomp their ground against Rojiblancos without five of their first-team members – Keylor Navas, Pepe, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The match, however, provided further proof of the batch of bright talents Real Madrid boast in their ranks with the Canteranos – Kiko Casilla, Lucas Vazquez and most notably Marco Asensio – all doing enough to earn their stripes and repay the trust coach Zinedine Zidane has invested in them.
In a move that took many by surprise, French tactician decided to field his young guns conveying a clear message that this season will not be all about reputation, but good form, work-rate, dedication and commitment.
One of the players who ticked all the boxes against Sevilla was Marco Asensio
The 20-year-old Real Madrid attacking midfielder produced a sparkling performance in the UEFA Super Cup, capping his display with a sublime long range wonder goal that is sure to strengthen his position in the first-team squad.
His impressive preseason showings have been enough to keep both Isco and James on the margins with his first-team election against Sevilla coming as a surprise for many unsuspecting observers.
Seemingly giving up on the idea of the branded squad filled with marketable players, Zinedine Zidane will attempt to convince club chief Florentino Perez to give up on both Isco and James in favour of young guns such as Marco Asensio who are believed to be more focused, dedicated and hard-working than the more established duo.
One club’s loss is another club’s gain
So, who is Marco Asensio, the boy who stepped under the spotlight so suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly?
Mallorca-born midfielder, a son to a Dutch mother and a Spanish father was the brightest spark in his hometown club with both La Liga giants – Real Madrid and Barcelona – closely monitoring his every step of the way.
The Catalans appeared to be on verge of grabbing the exciting talent in 2014 with the agreement between Barcelona and Mallorca already in place at the time. The player himself took pride in the idea and prospect of playing at Camp Nou and even went over to look for a house in Castelldefels.
Stories behind the subsequent Barcelona’s failure to land Mallorca’s pearl differ with one strong current claiming that Catalans refused to pay the total of €4.5 million in a single payment, while Mallorca reportedly rejected the proposed installments plan.
As the negotiations between the two clubs broke up, Barcelona went on to sing a player who went on to become one of the worst signings in Barcelona history.
Douglas Pereira dos Santos signed a five-year deal with Barcelona in 2014 as the club paid Sao Paulo €4 million upfront and further 1.5 in variables. With just three La Liga first-team performances since 2014 Brazilian Douglas remains one of the most lamentable signings for the Catalans.
Path to Prominence
Real Madrid wasted no time in negotiations with Mallorca signing the player on a six-year deal for a fee of €3.9 million in December 2014, but leaving him with Bermellones on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.
Another loan succeeded as Asensio was shipped over to Espanyol where he made 34 La Liga appearances in 2015-16 season, adding four goals during that time.
Zinedine Zidane was quick to recognize the talent and quality by including the 20-year-old in the preseason, which ultimately proved to be a right decision to make.
Questioned for their lack of transfer activity at the beginning of summer, Real Madrid are now being praised for investing the faith in one of their own.
Asensio’s emergence has been quick and sudden, but years of hard work lie behind it and Zinedine Zidane knows to appreciate it better than anyone else. The French tactician insists that young Spanish international will be staying with Real Madrid’s first-team adding that he appreciates all the hard work Asensio’s has done up to this point.
With La Liga triumph and Champions League glory set as new season’s aims, Zinedine Zidane will need depth in his squad and Marco Asensio is there to provide a valuable alternative for star players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Los Blancos are currently looking at 6/4 betting odds to be crowned Spanish champions in 2016/17 and there is no doubt that highly-praised Asensio will be keen to help his club succeed.