Barcelona thinking about signing Marco Asensio from Real Madrid
The forward’s out of contract next summer
The forward’s out of contract next summer
Barcelona are being linked with a move for Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio who is into the final year of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Mundo Deportivo reckon Barca are keeping tabs on his situation and reckon he is very much admired at the Camp Nou.
Barca did have the chance to sign Asensio back in 2014 but didn’t want to pay Real Mallorca’s asking price in full and ended up seeing him head to Madrid instead.
Asensio was linked with a move away in the summer but stayed, although he is clearly down the pecking order at the club at the moment.
The 26-year-old was also spotted having a bit of a strop when Carlo Ancelotti didn’t bring him on in the win over Real Mallorca.
MD reckon Barca like Asensio for his “age, level and tactical adaptability.” He’s seen as a “mature player” with a long future still ahead of him. The fact he could be free next summer is also probably a big factor.
MD also point out that Asensio’s agent is Jorge Mendes who reportedly has a good relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
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Barcelona are eyeing Marco Asensio, they could sign him for free from Real Madrid
Marco Asensio is into the last year of his contract at Real Madrid, and with his stay at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu unlikely to be extended now, he could be offered the chance t
Marco Asensio is into the last year of his contract at Real Madrid, and with his stay at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu unlikely to be extended now, he could be offered the chance to cross the Clasico rivalry and join Barcelona next summer.
At the end of the current 2022/23 season, Asensio will be able to join any club he wishes on a free transfer.
As per El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are interested in the Spaniard due to his age, versatility and overall quality.
«Barcelona are taking Asensio into consideration due to his age, his ability, and his tactical adaptability,» they report. It was also said on Onda Cero’s Radio Estadio Noche that «Barcelona already wanted him [before he joined Real Madrid]».
British publications such as the Daily Mail and The Sun have reported similar stories, stating that the Blaugrana are readying a shock swoop for the forward.
Asensio is 26 and has scored 50 goals in 239 Real Madrid appearances since he arrived from Real Mallorca in 2015.
FC Barcelona Study Signing Marco Asensio From Bitter Rivals Real Madrid
FC Barcelona are studying the signing of Marco Asensio from Real Madrid.
FC Barcelona are studying the signing of Marco Asensio according to Mundo Deportivo.
FC Barcelona are studying the signing of Marco Asensio from Real Madrid.
The 26-year-old is a free agent next summer, and looked set to leave the club in the recently closed transfer window amid strong interest from AC Milan, Arsenal and Newcastle United.
As approaches from these clubs never became concrete, however, the Palma native stayed put at the Bernabeu and has been left disappointed by his lack of playing time under Carlo Ancelotti.
Last week, Asensio was rewarded with a cameo against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and responded by scoring a goal during stoppage time in the 2-0 home win.
On Sunday, however, he was again benched for the Madrid derby and finds himself down the pecking order behind the likes of Brazilian youngsters Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.
Over in Catalonia then, Barca are currently looking to make improvements to their squad and are said to be «very attentive» to Asensio’s situation according to Mundo Deportivo.
As Asensio is free to talk to who he wants at the turn of 2023, the upcoming winter market is the last that Real Madrid would be able to sell him in and make some cash.
With this in mind, they may be willing to sell him in January for a cut fee as opposed to seeing a player on their books since November 2014 walk on a free – especially if his next destination could be their eternal enemy at Camp Nou.
MD say that Asensio’s «age, level and tactical adaptability» are what stands out to Barca top brass, who see him as a «mature player» but one who still has «a long career ahead of him».
By joining the Blaugrana, however, Asensio would instantly become a pariah in the eyes of Real Madrid fans who despite his fall from grace in recent years probably still view him as a club legend that has won four Champions League titles in their colors.
For Barca, pulling off the coup would act as a form of revenge for the debacle that ensued in 2000 when their star player Luis Figo switched allegiances to Madrid in a world record transfer deal that has recently been explained in a popular Netflix NFLX documentary.
How Haggling Over €2M Saw Barcelona Lose Marco Asensio to Real Madrid
In the 89th minute of the Spanish Super Cup final first leg last Sunday night, Barcelona trailed 2-1. They pushed for an equaliser when their forward Luis Suarez coughed up possession outside Real Madrid ‘s box…
In the 89th minute of the Spanish Super Cup final first leg last Sunday night, Barcelona trailed 2-1. They pushed for an equaliser when their forward Luis Suarez coughed up possession outside Real Madrid’s box.
Real Madrid swept up field. The ball arrived at Marco Asensio’s feet on the left wing about 40 yards from goal. Without breaking stride, he nudged the ball forward and then bombed the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net. Barcelona ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who had been back-pedalling furiously, could only wave it into the net before landing on his backside.
The wonder strike has effectively killed the tie. Barca—ravaged mentally by Neymar Jr.’s absconding to Paris Saint-Germain—will have to overturn a two-goal deficit (and the cushion of three away goals) in the second leg at the Bernabeu. The irony is that, but for the vagaries of the transfer market, Asensio could well have been scoring at the other end of the Camp Nou for Barcelona. At a pivotal juncture in his development, it was nailed on that he would join Barca.
Asensio was born in Mallorca—one of the Balearic Islands that sit off the coast of Catalonia in the Mediterranean—in January 1996. His Dutch mother christened him Marco after the famous Netherlands and Milan player Marco van Basten. It was an inspired decision.
Asensio was only nine years old when he came to the attention of football agent Horacio Gaggioli, the man who was responsible for brokering Lionel Messi’s complicated move from Argentina to Barcelona during the winter of 2000-2001. Gaggioli, who lives in Barcelona, crossed over to the island to see Asensio play. He was smitten.
«I liked him a lot,» says Gaggioli, who has worked as Asensio’s agent since being introduced to him. «He was grandisimo, a great footballer. He was spectacular in every sense. He had things you could see would make him an important player, just like Messi.»
What impressed Gaggioli as much as Asensio’s athleticism was the young boy’s personality—people warm to him. «He’s a person that attracts other people to him,» says Gaggioli. «It’s a characteristic. There are only a few people who have this trait, and he has it.»
As Asensio rose through the ranks of Mallorca’s youth academy, graduating to the first team at only 17 years of age, his raw footballing talent created a buzz in football circles around Spain.
Phil Kitromilides, who works as a presenter for Real Madrid TV, remembers in particular watching Asensio run the length of the pitch in a match with Mallorca to set up a scoring chance. «It was so eye-catching that it made you excited,» he says. «It got you thinking, OK, this kid could be very, very good.»
At the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, Asensio was earning €1,000 a month with Mallorca and living at home with his brother, Igor, who was a police cadet, and their father, who worked in a supermarket, according to Marca. Asensio’s fortunes changed dramatically that winter. He was coveted by Europe’s top football clubs. «All of them,» says Gaggioli.
Barca moved in to sign him. They bid €2.5 million for him (with an extra €2 million if he played in the first division). Mallorca insisted on €4.5 million up front. «Barca said, ‘No, we’re not able.’ They lost the opportunity,» says Gaggioli. «When they changed their mind after three months, it was too late.» Real Madrid had stepped into the breach.
According to Asensio in a Real Madrid TV documentary (h/t Marca), the tennis star Rafa Nadal, who is a rabid Real Madrid fan and a native of Mallorca, phoned the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, and urged him to sign Asensio. Perez phoned Asensio, purring down the phone: «Relax, Marco, you’re going to be a Real Madrid player,» per the documentary.
Perez was pushing an open door. Asensio has been a Real Madrid fan all his life. As a kid, he slept with a Real Madrid teddy bear. «His idol as a child was always Zinedine Zidane,» says Gaggioli. «He used to have a huge picture of him on his wall.»
Perez dispatched his private plane to pick up Asensio and his father in Mallorca. They were whisked to Madrid, given a tour of the Bernabeu and the club’s training facility, Valdebebas.
A deal was inked. Real Madrid agreed to pay Mallorca €3.9 million and allowed them to keep him until the end of the season. «The offer from Real Madrid for Asensio was 20 times better than Barcelona’s in every aspect, football-wise and financially,» says Gaggioli.
The Madrid press revelled in the coup. Marca’s front-page headline on 25 November 2014 announcing the signature read: «Goal against Barca.»
«Barcelona were not quick enough,» says Aitor Lagunas, editor of the literary football magazine Panenka. «It was one of their biggest mistakes in recent years. There was such little difference in the payment. It was obvious that Marco Asensio was a different kind of player. It was another success for Real Madrid and another failure for Barcelona.»
Asensio was presented as a Real Madrid player on this day two years ago. In an emotional speech, he gave thanks to his father, brother, Gaggioli, and to his mother, who died from cancer in 2011: «My mother, who I know that from heaven is always supporting me,» he said, breaking into tears.
Asensio is the most prized of the current generation of coming Spanish stars, with Saul Niguez and the slightly older Alvaro Morata and Isco among them. Early in his career, Asensio’s father, a proud Basque man, tried to entice Athletic Bilbao to sign his son, but the club refused, as it would have breached their strict rules on signing Basque-only players.
On the back of the debate, Lagunas ran a poll during the summer in which he asked his followers on Twitter who were supporters of Athletic Bilbao if they would favour changing their club’s recruitment policy to accommodate the sons and nephews of Basques on their team. A majority voted in favour of changing the rule.
«They were saying cases like Marco Asensio shouldn’t happen again,» says Lagunas. «The Twitter vote expressed how big an impact Marco Asensio is making at every level in Spain. If a really conservative fan group like Athletic Bilbao is considering changing their philosophy after more than a century mainly because of Asensio, it shows you he is a special player.»
Asensio’s directness is exhilarating. It’s something that Kitromilides stresses, drawing a comparison between the 21-year-old and his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale; although Bale is more about «physicality,» he adds, whereas Asensio has a «silkiness» to his breakaways.
«When you describe a player as being ‘vertical’ in English,» says Kitromilides, «it doesn’t convey quite the same meaning that it does in Spanish. Asensio is vertical. He’s dynamic. He’s one of the best counter-attacking players in the world. Not only is he quick, but he’s very good at dribbling very quickly with the ball as well. He seems to have an understanding of when to give a pass on the counter-attack. We saw it last season, when he scored goals by charging into space against defenders.»
Asensio also has an inner strength. He spent the 2015-2016 season on loan at Espanyol, amassing 10 assists in La Liga, as per WhoScored.com, making him the youngest footballer in Europe’s five big leagues to reach double figures in that category, according to ESPN.
The consistently good performances while playing for a struggling Espanyol side—which finished five points from the drop—came on the back of a player-of-the-tournament display for Spain’s triumphant team at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship.
It meant expectations ran high. He has remained unfazed, however. At a press conference during his loan season with Espanyol, he was quizzed about the effect of pressure on him. «I think pressure is something that doesn’t exist,» he said matter-of-factly, as per his Real Madrid TV documentary.
That’s some debut record, @marcoasensio10 🙌 https://t.co/TED18LFaQN
His ability to score debut goals in competitions would bear out this sentiment. He has an uncanny knack of scoring them for Real Madrid—in the UEFA Super Cup, the Champions League (as well as his first Champions League final against Juventus), the Copa del Rey, La Liga and last Sunday in the Spanish Super Cup.
Last season was a breakout year for Asensio. This season, which culminates with a World Cup in Russia, promises even more. On the domestic front, when Bleacher Report puts it to Kitromilides that Asensio might keep Bale out of the Real Madrid side, he says the question is framed incorrectly.
«He’ll keep many players out of the team, not just Bale,» says Kitromilides. «The way the Real Madrid style and squad has evolved, if Asensio comes in, he can come in for Ronaldo, Bale or Karim Benzema. They would adapt the formation of how they play. I don’t think it’s necessarily him keeping out Gareth Bale specifically. It will be him being in the team so someone else isn’t in it.»
All quotes and information obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.
Follow Richard on Twitter: @Richard_Fitz
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