Forward | Real Madrid | Spain
What is there not to like about a left-footed Spanish wing-wizard? Oozing class, dancing around bamboozled defenders with twinkle-toed flair and capable of picking the lock with incisive precision, Asensio is tailor-made for a club of Real Madrid’s unparalleled prestige.
Within a squad packed to the rafters with superstars, featuring some of the world’s most gifted technicians, Asensio is certainly not out of place, but he has another level to rise yet.
We love watching him play; he’s incredibly easy on the eye and technically phenomenal. But sometimes he lacks that extra touch of decisive quality which is needed to rise into the elite bracket.
At 22-years-old Madrid will be incredibly pleased with his development, but whether he has what it takes to convince the Los Blancos bigwigs that he can retain his place over a future Galactico, potentially in the form of a certain Eden Hazard, is far from certain.
2018 has been…
A glowing year of footballing education, filled with fleeting moments of immense promise. Asensio only started three times in Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign, but he showcased his big-game mentality by popping up with a massive away goal at the Allianz Arena in the first-leg of the semi-final clash with Bayern Munich, a strike which eventually proved to be the difference between the two sides, if you’re looking at it through pro-Asensio lenses, that is.
His year total of eight goals and eight assists in all-competitions from 52 appearances - just 33 of which were starts - is commendable without being ground-breaking. There is clearly some substance to the promise and the aesthetically delightful style of play, which is not always the case in players who are semi-dependent on their technical attributes, and his ability to avoid playing pretty football for pretty footballs sake is crucial.
Asensio has not quite managed to nail down a regular starting berth, but as the year has progressed his importance to Real Madrid has grown - partly in consequence of Ronaldo’s departure - and it will be intriguing to witness how his development changes under Santiago Solari.
A new dawn under a new manager with fresh ideas and selection preferences can prove disruptive. Asensio could thrive under Solari’s stewardship, or he could fall down the pecking order and question whether his future would best be served elsewhere.
The rumour mill tends to churn out regular stories linking him with a move to the Premier League, but it’s difficult to envisage where his qualities would best be suited at this moment in time, and that’s without even considering whether any club would be willing to meet Madrid’s extortionate asking price.
The truth is that Asensio is a textbook La Liga player and his quality might not collaborate effectively with the style presented by another of Europe’s top leagues. He’s a dream for Real Madrid and exactly the type of player the ultra-demanding supporters want to see gliding across the hallowed turf at the Bernabeu Stadium, and if he wants to smash through his ceiling he’d be wise to stay in the capital, for now at least.