Marco Asensio is crying out for a more prominent role at Real Madrid. The 22-year-old's figures show that he's above the status that coach Zinedine Zidane is currently granting him: he's the team's third-top scorer, their sixth-highest assist-provider... and yet only the 13th most-used member of the squad.
Only Cristiano, Bale have scored more than Asensio
Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, with 25 and nine respectively, have scored more than Asensio's eight in all competitions this season. Meanwhile, just five team-mates - Toni Kroos, Lucas Vázquez, Isco, Marcelo and Bale - have more assists than his five.
Taking the two statistics together, his total of 13 means that he has participated in the fourth-most goals of all Real Madrid's players in 2017/18.
Track record of performing against top opposition
What's more, Asensio's best performances this term haven't come against any old opposition: he scored against Barcelona in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup, was on target twice at home to Valencia in LaLiga and had a game-changing impact on Wednesday's Champions League first leg with Paris Saint-Germain.
That's nothing new: last term, he proved crucial in both clashes with Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals (with a goal and an assist), before netting against Juventus in the final, having already bagged a stunner in the Uefa Super Cup the previous August.
Overlooked on the big occasions
Despite all this, Zidane continues to overlook Asensio when picking his line-up for Los Merengues' crunch fixtures.
Speaking on Saturday, the Frenchman refused to be drawn on the starting claim staked by Asensio. "I always get this kind of question," he told reporters. "Today it's Marco. Yesterday Isco. Another day [Dani] Ceballos... It's the hardest thing for a coach: making that choice and leaving seven on the bench and three or four at home. The players are ready for when they get their opportunity. Some play more than others in a team; that always happens..."
Asensio likely to start away to Betis on Sunday
However, the former Real Mallorca man is expected to be rewarded for his display against PSG with a place in the team at Real Betis in LaLiga on Sunday and, in the next five league games, will seek to persuade 'Zizou' to give him his chance on the big occasion: the second leg in Paris on 6 March.