Marco Asensio: "Zidane was my idol, and now he's my coach"
The 21-year-old spoke after renewing his Real Madrid contract until 2023, and insisted that he is not thinking about the Ballon D'Or.
Marco Asensio faced the press at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Friday afternoon following the extension of his contract until 2023. The 21-year-old’s new deal includes a mouth-watering €700 million buy-out clause.
Asensio speaks to the press after contract extension
Asensio has become the latest in a stream of Real Madrid players to extend their contract at the club, with Karim Benzema, Isco, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal, and Marcos Llorente all putting pen to paper since the summer.
Before the questions turned to Asensio, the director of institutional relations at Real Madrid, Emilio Butragueño, introduced the man from Mallorca with a warm statement:
“Your family, alongside your extraordinary talent, have helped you to play for Real Madrid. Despite your youth, you have demonstrated extraordinary personality, which has given you a relevant role in the team. I want you to know that this is your home, I wish you all the best.”
'I don't think about the Ballon D'Or'
How do you feel at a moment like this?
It’s a very important day for me, I’m proud to extend my contract at the biggest club in the world. The past year has been great, and I have grown a lot. We have started well and my objectives are the same: to win many titles with Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo says that he sees you as his successor for the Ballon D’Or and it’s said that your value is around €150 or €200 million…
I don’t set the price, and to receive this praise from Cristiano, who has won it all, is pleasing. I don’t think about that [the Ballon D’Or], I’m young, I go step by step.
How do you see your role in the team? Always playing, or rotating from time to time?
Well the gaffer already knows how to treat me, I have my personal targets. I always want to play, but I understand that there are more players and the minutes have to be divided out, we’re a team. And we won all last year’s titles as a team.
Which Real Madrid goal will stay with you?
It’s difficult, but the goal in the Champions League final will stay with me. It’s a dream goal… to play in a final, score, and win. It was incredible, really thrilling.
'I'm always proud to represent my country'
Julen Lopetegui has called you up to another Spain squad…
I’m always proud to join up with the national team, to represent my country, and more so in such an important year, with a World Cup. I’m really happy to receive the call. We will work to be in Russia.
Everything has gone quickly for you in the last year and a half, right?
Yes, it has gone really quick, but I have known how to handle it well. My family have always supported me, as much in the difficult moments as the beautiful ones. That’s how I stay as I am.
Do you see yourself as Madrid’s star player of the future?
Right now there are more decorated players. I’m young and I have signed until 2023. I’m happy here and I want to go year by year, step by step.
Does Marco Asensio need to be an undisputed starter now?
I feel important, right now I’m in a good moment. I hope the coach gives me minutes so I can take advantage of them.
'Zidane was my idol, and now he's my coach'
Who was your favourite player growing up, and who has surprised you most in this squad?
When I was little Zidane was my idol, and now he’s my coach. And Cristiano surprises me every day with his ambition, despite everything he has won. He has that ambition that is contagious for his team-mates.
You arrived at Real Madrid young. Do you feel like an academy product?
Well, I have been in Mallorca all my life, but since I came here I have felt at home, I’m in a big family like Real Madrid. I hope I can be here for many years.
What is more difficult: to reach something, or to maintain yourself there?
It’s all complicated. At the start it’s difficult, you have to work a lot. The demand is at a maximum and you always have to give the highest level.
How can you improve?
I can improve a lot, I have room to improve. I’m young, every year I have to grow.
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