It will be an incredible night to remember for Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio, who scored one goal, played a major part in a Croatian own goal and provided three assists in Spain’s 6-0 drubbing of World Cup finalists Croatia in the Uefa Nations League on Tuesday night.
Uefa named Luka Modric as its player of the year less than two weeks ago, but the Croatian captain could not muster up his usual commanding performance for his team, who may still be feeling the impact of a tremendous, yet exhausting, World Cup.
Speaking to Spanish TV after the game, Modric’s Madrid midfield partner Asensio said: “The truth is that we played a great game. We had very good concentration. We needed to recover those feelings we had. We played two big games [against Croatia and England], and our fans supported us. It's nice to play here [in Elche].”
Marco Asensio has been involved in 5 goals tonight against Croatia. Five!— Fredrik (@F_Edits) 11 September 2018
Not bad pic.twitter.com/b4tRZKUby5
Speaking about his man-of-the-match-deserving performance for new coach Luis Enrique, who picked six Real Madrid players in his starting 11, Asensio said, “Whenever I’m on the pitch, I try to do my best, we’ve played a great game, especially as a collective. We defended and attacked together.”
After a disappointing World Cup, Spain have bounced back as a new era under Luis Enrique begins, with two back-to-back victories against formidable opponents in the form of England and Croatia, both of whom had impressive showings in Russia.
"We have played against teams that have gone very far in the World Cup … and we have risen to the challenge,” added Asensio, who after his incredible performance against Croatia, will head into Real Madrid’s clash with Athletic Bilbao brimming with confidence on Saturday.