Prior to Real Madrid‘s match against Mallorca, there were rumblings that Marco Asensio was frustrated with his situation at the club. This summer, Asensio rejected proposals from Tottenham and Milan in order to prove himself one last time with Los Blancos. Asensio was woeful in 2020-2021 and very much one of the chief culprits behind Real’s poor attacking displays.
New Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti acted rather nonchalantly in response to reports that Asensio was upset with his lack of minutes. And why would he act in any other way? Ancelotti has a solid group of attacking players at his disposal who are performing well. He’s also already made it clear that Asensio’s future is in the attacking midfield, not as a winger like in the 2020-21 season.
Ancelotti also had plans to start Asensio. Instead of rolling with Isco, who did score in an excellent 20 minutes off the bench, the Italian manager decided to give Asensio the starting opportunity against Mallorca.
And Asensio more than rewarded the manager’s confidence. He finished the match with a hat-trick in a 6-1 romping of the returning LaLiga side, producing his finest performance for Real Madrid in ages. Not since his ACL tear before the 2019-2020 season have we seen this kind of a display in front of goal from Asensio.
Marco Asensio is a fit for the No. 10 role at Real Madrid
Coming into this match, Madridistas were laughing at the notion that Asensio was confused about his playing time. How could he have actually thought he would be ahead of a healthy Gareth Bale, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, or Eden Hazard in the pecking order?
Now, though, Madridistas are hoping Asensio continues this form and proves every single member of the fanbase who doubted him wrong. Of course, it’s not like the fans doubted his quality as a footballer, but they were frustrated with his lackadaisical displays on the wings.
Asensio was meant to be in an attacking midfield role, where he can get more central shots on target and drift in and out of shooting positions. He does not have to defend as rigorously, nor does he have to go for the one-on-ones. Asensio was never strong in these individual battles, but post-injury, he simply does not stand a chance.
Ancelotti’s challenge is that he has three different, potentially excellent creatives for the 10 role in Eden Hazard, Isco, and Marco Asensio. But Asensio now has the hot hand after making a statement at the exact right time. He complained about his minutes, Ancelotti gave him a chance to prove everyone wrong, and he absolutely knocked his opportunity out of the park.
You have to respect Asensio for that. And you can’t help but think that he could potentially build on this incredible goal-scoring performance with more goals. Asensio is a confidence player. That is also the nature of his skill-set. He needs the confidence to remain sharp in front of goal and to go after the kinds of shots he can hit.
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As one of Asensio’s doubters, I look forward to him continuing this form. Real Madrid are an exciting team to watch again, and Asensio could be part of a run to a trophy in 2021-2022, even if he does not start regularly.