Marco Asensio’s career hasn’t gone as well as he would’ve hoped so far. He’s spent most of his time at Real Madrid playing as a winger, which is something that had a good amount of output coming from it, but that has decreased significantly over the last two or three seasons, and his ACL injury certainly didn’t make things better for anyone.
Asensio’s statistics from last season are disappointing, if I’m being honest with you. People expected a lot more from the Spaniard after his first couple of seasons at Real Madrid, and they were right in doing so. He showed a lot of promise in those two seasons and Real Madrid held on to him, thinking he would one day become one of the best players in the world.
That never happened, and from what it seems, it never will. It’s taken some time for everyone to realise that Asensio is just not going to be great as a winger, especially at Real Madrid.
At this club, you need to have a skillset of the highest quality if you want to make it as a winger, let alone any position. You need to be explosive with the ball which helps to get past your opponents with ease, and you need to be able to create your own shot as an inverted winger, which is usually what Real Madrid go with. Marco Asensio does neither of those things. On top of that, he’s not able to defend as well, which just makes things worse.
Ancelotti may turn Asensio into a midfielder at Real Madrid
When Asensio was brought on against Alaves, I was thinking whether it would be a good idea to play him as a midfielder, and as it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. Ancelotti mentioned in the press conference for the game against Levante that he’s trying to turn Asensio into a midfielder. We saw more of that in the game against Levante too, although it wasn’t an outstanding performance by any means.
Okay, so, on paper, this makes a bit of sense. Real Madrid have already picked their two main right-wingers for the season in Gareth Bale and Rodrygo, and the team’s depth in midfield just got slimmer with the departure of Odegaard.
Midfielders usually don’t need as much pace as a winger would need. Plus, it’s fair to say that Asensio has played well whenever he’s had a central role. All that is great, and Asensio would definitely be more effective in the attacking third if he plays in the midfield.
The problem is on the other side of the pitch. Asensio’s defending capabilities are limited, to say the least. He’s not a great two-way presence on the wing, and if he is to play as a midfielder, he’ll need to do a lot more of that. Going back and helping the defense is common for a midfielder, even more so than for a winger.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that he’ll improve defensively. Another problem would be his stamina because, if you watched the first El Clasico of last season, you’d have noticed two things. One was that Asensio had a brilliant game defensively. He was seen tracking back and helping out whenever needed. Two, he was out of gas by the 60th minute. If he’s getting tired in 60 minutes as a winger, what’ll happen if he plays in the midfield? Stamina is one of the most crucial factors for a midfielder to be effective, and he is poor. He’ll need to work on it if he wants to make it work as a midfielder.
One thing Asensio could be great for, though, is a bench role, this time in midfield. If he comes on at the 65th or 70th minute, he would be able to help out the team with some energy and creativity in the final third, and it wouldn’t be a problem since he’d be playing centrally. He wouldn’t be ball-watching, and that’ll help the team as well as himself.
Tracking back and defending properly would still be crucial though, and that’s something Asensio needs to improve, regardless of whether he plays as a winger or as a midfielder. Time will tell if Carlo Ancelotti’s plan to turn him into a midfielder comes to fruition or not.
Asensio played around 20 or so minutes against Levante as a midfielder, and even though he didn’t do anything incredible, it still gives me a little hope that it may work out for him as a midfielder at Real Madrid.
It may be Asensio’s final chance to prove to the higher-ups that he’s capable of playing at Real Madrid, with reinforcements possibly coming in next season. You know who I’m talking about.