Opinion: It's time for Asensio to choose his fate
Marca's Jose Luis Hurtado tells the Spaniard to choose whether he wants to be a world class player or just a 'normal' one.
"There are football players with such talent that it outweighs the tactical strategy produced on a chalkboard. There are few chosen ones, those to whom a coach can say, 'do what you want, but just do it' and Marco Asensio is one such player. The Spanish forward is good, very good, and has the requisite tools to be the diamond at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but his recent performances in the capital have left many doubts.
"He's elegant on the pitch, has a fantastic vision for the game and has a venomous left-footed shot. He can earn fouls and is fast and ingenious when in possession. Asensio can arrive in matches whenever he decides to, and that's why it's inexplicable that he didn't contribute more of this genius in the European U21 championship final. It's strange that he was a starter in the knockout phase of the World Cup, yet it's impossible to remember a significant contribution he made. This is exactly why it's so painful that in a year without Cristiano Ronaldo, he isn't doing more.
"Despite symptoms suggesting he is being crushed by shyness, responsibility and caution, surely Asensio can't complete a match without a dribble in a dangerous attacking area? Yet this is exactly what happened in Moscow on Tuesday evening with the team desperate for anybody to produce something. He had just one shot on Igor Akinfeev's goal in the second half, but CSKA were a seemingly impenetrable wall.
"The Bernabeu can easily detect when a player can give more. They never asked Francisco Pineda, a goal-scoring specialist, to contribute in defence; they never asked Santillana to deliver Laudrup-esque passes. A class player isn't criticised for not running to an unhealthy degree, yet they can't forgive him for moving forward without a fixed idea to create.
"It's a sad Real Madrid at the moment, they can't score goals, and with Karim Benzema in a permanent state of inconsistency Asensio must decide which road to take. He can take the one of a normal player who arrives, plays and then goes home or he can take that of an extraordinary footballer who makes moments that people in attendance remember, something he's already shown himself capable of. The Bernabeu remains very attentive."