Real Madrid: 4 questions to answer before the Champions League knockout round

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Marco Asensio
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) /

Will Marco Asensio step up for Real Madrid?

Vinicius Junior has responded to the criticisms beautifully over the past couple of matches. He knew he was in a big spot against Huesca the previous weekend with Eden Hazard injured again, and after struggling for several weeks, Vini responded positively with an active performance as the standout forward in the Real Madrid line. Los Blancos would win the match 2-1.

Then, Vini had an assist against Getafe in another strong performance, as Real won 2-0. On Sunday, Vini played well yet again, showing even better chemistry with goal-scorer Karim Benzema in an easy 2-0 victory over Valencia.

But while Vinicius has responded well, Marco Asensio continues to struggle on that right-hand side. He is having trouble creating his own shots while cutting inside from the right, whereas he is finding it easier to run in a straight line and whip in accurate crosses from the left.

Vini has the left-hand side of Real’s attack locked down with his electric dribbling, tireless work ethic, and returning confidence. Asensio’s work is less impressive, but we all know what he can do for Real Madrid in the knockout stages of a Champions League.

This is a prime opportunity for Asensio to break out again and erase the struggles of the 2020-2021 season to this point. We have seen glimpses of Asensio’s greatness this season. Despite the overall disappointment, he has not been terrible. He has not been bereft of his moments. But we want more than moments from Asensio; we want a complete game on Europe’s biggest stage.