Football News

Zinedine Zidane confirms Asensio will stay amid Liverpool and Chelsea links

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 12:35, 24 March 2019

Zinedine Zidane has described Marco Asensio as “fundamental” to his plans at Real Madrid amid speculation linking him with a move away.

The 23-year-old Spanish forward became an integral part of Los Blancos under Zidane during the Frenchman’s first stint at the club but struggled for playing time under his successors.

The rise of Asensio: Five things to know…

  1. Signed for Real from boyhood club Mallorca in July 2015, Asensio scored on his debut against Sevilla in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup.
  2. Asensio also scored in his La Liga and Champions League debuts for Real against Real Sociedad (away) and Legia Warsaw (home) respectively.
  3. He continued the streak in the Copa del Rey (v La Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa) and 2017 Spanish Super Cup (v Barcelona).
  4. All this means Asensio is the first player ever to score on his debut for any club in five different competitions.
  5. So far Asensio has scored 27 goals across 127 matches for Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane hailing the Spaniard as fundamental to the club.

Since joining from boyhood club Mallorca in 2015 has played under three different Real Madrid managers – Zinedine Zidane, Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari – with him enjoying a more prominent role under the recently returning Zidane.

A lack of having a key role under Lopetegui and Solari intensified speculation of the Mallorcan saying goodbye to Real with Chelsea and Liverpool both reported destinations, the former seeing him become part of a deal that would see Eden Hazard move to the Spanish capital.

Any chance of him departing, though, has since been kiboshed with Zidane’s second coming as manager. The three-time European Cup-winning coach sees Asensio as part of his rebuilding program and he’s made the Spaniard aware.

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“I have spoken to him and told him that he will be fundamental to the team,” he told reporters.

“And I want him here with us.”

Debut master

Asensio made history when he became the first player ever to score on his debut for any club in five different competitions: UEFA Super Cup (v Sevilla, 2016), La Liga (v Real Sociedad, 2016), Champions League (v Legia Warsaw, 2016), Copa del Rey (v La Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa) and Spanish Super Cup (v Barcelona, 2017).

To date, he’s made no fewer than 127 appearances for Los Blancos, registering 27 goals and 15 assists in the process. Breaking those goals down further, all but six have come under Zidane.

However, when it comes to prolificacy, he was averaging a goal every 180 minutes under Santiago Solari (5 goals in 21 matches) compared to 939 under former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui (one goal in 14 matches) and 236 minutes under Zidane (21 goals in 92 matches).

Next up for Asensio, Real and Zidane is a visit from bottom side Huesca in La Liga after the international break.