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Luis Enrique offers Asensio a lifeline


Marco Asensio’s performance in Prague left me feeling good. He came into the game with a new attitude, different from the cautious air with which I see him play at Real Madrid, like a person who dips his toe in the water to see if it’s cold and whether or not it’s worth jumping in. In his first involvement, he broke down the left flank and unleashed a very precise cross-shot which struck the post. In explaining why he had brought him back into the national team, Luis Enrique said that there aren’t six players in the world with Asensio’s ability to strike the ball as the Mallorca born player can, and I genuinely don’t think he was exaggerating. He has that and the precision of his assists and was instrumental in delivering the the cross that made it 2-2.

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Hard work

But Luis Enrique also said he wanted to see if he could take inspiration from the group. We know what that means: plenty of hard work and no bullshit. Asensio suffers from a kind of mollycoddling that is holding back his career. He has spent the season competing with Rodrygo for a place that in the final went to Fede Valverde with both players ahead of the 26-year-old in terms of commitment and in Ancelotti’s pecking order. And in the contest he was eclipsed by Rodrygo. Asensio has become a player who is reluctant to take opposition players on and was considered a ‘cupboard mouse’, a term used for players how lurk in the box and score when not expected.

Asensio signs with Mendes

I don’t know if Asensio would be in the squad without Oyarzabal being injured or if Ansu Fati was 100% match-fit. But the fact is that he has been presented with a wonderful to get into the national team set-up and comply within the Luis Enrique working dynamic in which there is no room for bullshit. If he shakes off the ‘blues’, he can still provide a fine solution for the national team and for whatever club he plays for, which I’m afraid will no longer be Real Madrid. Asensio has just switched representation and am not sure his new agent Jorge Mendes, will look to strike a renewal for the player but to look for new destination in the super agent’s wide portfolio of clubs.