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REAL MADRID

Asensio changing his own destiny at Real Madrid

Two starts in the last three games have catapulted the Real Madrid forward who now has options of striking a new deal. The club did not offer him a renewal last summer.

Update:
Asensio changing his own destiny at Real Madrid
Eurasia Sport ImagesGetty

After the first 19 games of the season, Marco Asensio made his second start in Wednesday’s game against Celtic. Karim Benzema had been suffering from fatigue - and that has played in the Mallorcan winger’s favour. In the run-up to the World Cup, that will do him the world of good. He has started in both of the last two Champions League games (Celtic and Leipzig) but has also played a part in the last five games, scoring two goals and giving two assists - against Celtic last night, in addition to scoring, he participated in Vini’s goal and assisted Valverde. His contributions have helped to reignite the debate on whether to offer him a new deal.

Asensio played just twice in the first seven games of the season - seven minutes against Celta and 10 in Glasgow. That illustrated the role that Madrid had reserved for him after placing him on the market last summer. He decided to change his agent, swapping Horacio Gaggioli for Jorge Mendes, a move which signalled a desire to find a new club away from Madrid. Surprisingly, he refused to leave the club without once publicly revealing if he had received any offers from elsewhere. Madrid meanwhile, did not offer him the chance to renew.

It looked like the plan was to complete his contract with Real Madrid and find a top club willing to sign him on a free with a lucrative signing bonus (à la Mbappé). Madrid’s response was to ostracize him from the team.

It was Luis Enrique’s confidence in his quality and his subsequent call-up for Spain’s matches against Switzerland and Portugal that definitively changed Asensio’s luck. He was in the starting line-up against Switzerland, playing as a false nine. Asensio took full advantage of the chance. The message now coming out of Jorge Mendes’ camp is that he intends to renew his contract with Madrid...

No player has contributed more coming off the bench than Asensio. He has participated in 78 goals in his 249 games for Madrid since 2016: 52 goals and 26 assists. The eternal promise who has still to reach his full potential, but nevertheless, has proved to be a handy complement for Madrid. If he agrees to maintain the same salary and not demand a pay rise, an essential requirement now imposed by the club in contract renewals, he may well strike a new deal...

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