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Asensio carves out a place in Zidane's new-look Real Madrid

Asensio carves out a place in Zidane's new-look Real Madrid

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Against Eibar, Asensio showed again that he performs best out wide on the right, where Bale no longer plays. Vinicius and Hazard are options for the left wing.

Marco Asensio still has time to show that he can play an important role for Real Madrid next season and Zidane is all in favour of giving him that opportunity. In the four games that Zidane has overseen since returning to the Madrid coaching job, Asensio has started all four and completed the full 90 minutes in three (Celta, Huesca and Eibar). He has only been subbed once - coming off just after the hour against Valencia. From what we've seen so far, Asensio seems to have carved out a place on the right wing where he has played his best football in recent games - and arguably his best performance of the season against Eibar yesterday. Zidane has taken note and is keen to keep playing the 23-year-old out wide on the right while Gareth Bale's future remains uncertain. In next season's Real Madrid, Vinicius and Eden Hazard will have to compete to lock down the left wing position and Asensio will face competition from Lucas Vázquez for a place in the team. It is looking increasingly unlikely that Kylian Mbappé will join ahead of the new season.

Asensio ante el Eibar.

Switching wings

During the Eibar game there was a before and after moment for Asensio when Zidane decided to move him over to the opposite wing for the second half. In the first half, when he was played out on the left wing, his game seemed a little too obvious and he didn't really have any impact when the team was going forward. A cross on 36 minutes was easilt blocked by the Eibar defence and seemed to highlight his ineffectiveness. But that all changed when he switched over to the other flank and was one of the reasons Madrid got back into the game and went on to win the match. Not just for supplying the cross for Benzema to head in the equaliser but also because he was much more involved - picking out Benzema, overlapping with Odriozola and even having a couple of shots on target. His injury-time gallop up-field to lay the ball off to Benzema was a reminder of the Asensio of old - the player who delighted the Bernabéu during his first season at Real Madrid.

Difficult season

This season has been a tough one for him. Things hit a low following his comments about shouldering on responsibilities with the team - at a point when Madrid were struggling. He hasn't shined like in other seasons - despite starting the campaign as a first choice for the first seven games as part of a three-pronged attack under Lopetegui (Bale-Benzema-Asensio). And next season he will be making a strong case to be part of a new trident frontline, possibly played out on the right with Benzema and Hazard.