It was after a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup back in 2017 that Gerard Pique admitted he felt, for the first time, Barcelona to be “inferior” to Real Madrid. There were a number of factors that led the Catalan centre back to make just a bold confession and one of them was surely Marco Asensio.
Asensio scored twice over the two legs of that Spanish Super Cup final, with one of them a stunning strike from distance that deceived Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal by moving one way and then the next before finding the back of the net. It was just another moment of brilliance from a player destined for the top.
Or so it seemed at the time. Asensio was seen as Real Madrid’s next Galactico, the future face of the club. Possibly even a future Ballon d’Or winner. Things have gone a little differently since then, though. In recent times, Asensio has been a shadow of his former self. A pale imitation of the player who shimmered so bright not so long ago.
Zinedine Zidane seems to have lost faith in the 23-year-old, with Asensio now a peripheral figure at Real Madrid. The hope was that Zidane’s return would help restore Asensio. It was, after all, the Frenchman that brought through the young attacker. There has been no such resurgence, though.
Instead, Asensio is, according to reports, being touted around Europe. Liverpool have long tracked the 23-year-old and with Real Madrid supposedly open to a sale it seems that the Anfield outfit might well get their man. Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the attacker, although their transfer embargo could prove to be an obstacle.
This wasn’t how Asensio’s Real Madrid career was meant to pan out, but it appears that Zidane has decided that the 23-year-old doesn’t fit into his plans for the future. The Spanish capital club find themselves in a mess and Zidane must be ruthless in his restoration of his squad, even if it means cutting Asensio.
Along with Gareth Bale, there has been no greater victim of the chaos that has engulfed the Santiago Bernabeu over the past year or so than Asensio. There is still time for him to retrace the upward trajectory he has diverted from, but increasingly it seems that he will do so away from Real Madrid.
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