Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane Sheds Light On Marco Asensio’s Situation

Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Marco Asensio seems to have fallen out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, but he is still important according to the French coach.

When Marco Asensio broke out at Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season, Zinedine Zidane was at the helm. He was a fundamental player in the rotational scheme for Zidane, even staking a claim for a spot in the starting line-up that consisted of a superstar forward line. When Zidane resigned after the 2018 UEFA Champions League final, the only way was up for Marco Asensio.

Fast forward two and a half years and Asensio finds himself in the most unusual position he has ever been in – on the periphery. When he made his return to the pitch after an almost year-long absence in spectacular fashion, scoring a goal in 30 seconds after coming off the bench vs. Valencia, everyone raised their expectations for this mercurial player.

Asensio started this season as one of the regulars of Zidane’s XI, a reward for finishing the pandemic-stricken 2019-20 season strongly, and why not? Zidane persisted, even giving him a run of six straight games at a point to prove himself, but as much as the fans were left disappointed, Zidane must have been let down equally.

During the pre-match press conference ahead of the match vs. Granada, Zizou was asked about Marco Asensio’s situation and the obvious question about his significant lack of playing time. Here is what he had to say:

"“I always trust Marco Asensio because he is a talented player, the present and future of this club.”“The team is playing well, with him and with everyone. It is true that in recent games he has not played much, but what must do is continue as always, working.”"

Those statements are fairly surprising as almost everyone seems to have counted off Asensio – everyone but Zidane. Asensio was one of the players Zidane had heavily relied upon during his highly successful first stint as manager.

Marco Asensio has an uphill battle to get back into Real Madrid’s XI

At the moment, Asensio finds himself in a tricky situation. Lucas Vázquez is undroppable at the moment, while Rodrygo has been extremely impactful in the limited playing time he has been awarded. With the return of Eden Hazard to the squad, it would take a Herculean effort from Asensio to even have a sniff at the starting XI.

For one, Asensio’s talents are undeniable, but he seems to be lacking in confidence. There have been glimpses of what makes him so special. As agonizing as that is, that has been the story of Asensio’s unfortunate season so far – he has offered nothing more than the occasional glimpse of his slick football.

I am a huge fan of Marco Asensio, and I still believe that he can be important to the team. One question remains, though. Has the ship already sailed for Asensio? With the rumours of Kylian Mbappé joining Real Madrid growing ever so strong and the unavoidable prominence of Rodrygo, there seems to be no way out of this big hole Asensio finds himself in, struggling to get out of it.

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Regardless, Marco Asensio’s fate lies in Zinedine Zidane’s hands as much as it does in his own hands, and these words from the manager will do a world of good to a seemingly underconfident Asensio at the moment. If he can manage to overturn the situation, he is set to be a pivotal part of the project brewing under the vision of Zidane.