In a team of Galacticos, one prospect’s rise to first-team dominance has won the admiration of football fans and experts around the world. His name: Marco Asensio.
Several years ago, you’d struggle to imagine a player like Asensio being so crucial to the Real Madrid team as he has been. Asensio was given the opportunity to step in and perform during a torrid spell for Gareth Bale that was plagued by injury.
Since then, Asensio has proven himself to be undroppable and continues to stand out in both his domestic and national teams – despite the relenting firepower surrounding him.
His most recent performance in Spain’s 6-0 thrashing of Croatia symbolises how lucky Real are to have a player of his ilk. Let’s take a look at just how important Marco Asensio is for Los Blancos:
Asensio’s season so far
Asensio has started in all three of Real Madrid’s La Liga games so far, tallying an assist in the process.
The 22-year-old has occupied the left wing, a position left vacant by the recently-departed Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Asensio has coped with the pressure immensely.
He’s proven to be both a provider and scorer of goals, mimicking the kind of contributions we’ve grown so used to seeing from CR7 over the years.
Asensio has averaged two successful dribbles per game, as well as winning 53% of duels. The Spaniard acts as the creative outlet for Madrid’s front three, partnering with persistent goalscoring threats in Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
Asensio vs Croatia, UEFA Nations League
His most recent outing is by far his best so far this season. Luis Enrique’s Spain breezed past World Cup runners-up Croatia in a 6-0 thumping.
Asensio was the standout player in the tie, assisting three goals for his teammates whilst also getting on the scoresheet himself with a magnificent effort from outside the box in the 33rd minute.
The 22-year-old also managed a passing accuracy of 92%, made two interceptions, and successfully completed 67% of his dribbles.
Croatia is a team built around a strong midfield partnered with the unrelenting work-rate of their attack. Asensio’s ability to control play from the midfield – even though he technically played on the right flank – proves his maturity transcends his age.
Asensio’s dominance, when compared statistically to his Real Madrid team-mates, is quite staggering. In all disciplines analysed, the 22-year-old comes out on top.
In terms of pass completion, Asensio racked up a successful percentage of 90%, edging out even Isco who managed an impressive 88%.
The Spaniard also managed 2.33 key passes per 90 metrics last season, ahead of Gareth Bale in second (2.16) and Isco in third (2.14). The comparison for chances created per 90 metrics follows a similar pattern, Asensio sits on top with 2.55 chances ahead of second-placed Isco with 2.47.
Finally, Asensio’s prowess in front of goal also shows in the accuracy of his shots. You’d think Gareth Bale would dominate this statistic based on his predatory instincts in front of goal. However, it’s actually Asensio who was more accurate in his shots.
The 22-year-old managed a shot accuracy of 61%, closely followed by Isco (60%), while Bale sits bottom with a limp 49%.
There’s no denying Madrid have a remarkable player on their hands in Asensio. His form so far this season has drawn the attention of clubs such as Liverpool and Chelsea. However, both – or any club for that matter – would have to pay a pretty penny to pry him away from Madrid’s grasps.
The future is bright for young Marco. As long as Julen Lopetegui continues to make him the focal point of Madrid’s attack, Asensio could become one of the club’s all-time greats.