Real Madrid: Three players who need to step up in the absence of Karim Benzema

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Marco Asensio
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images) /

Marco Asensio

Marco Asensio is one of the players who are trusted a lot by Zinedine Zidane. In fact, the Frenchman was ready to let go of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez in 2019, to use the Spaniard as the first choice right-winger. Asensio hasn’t been able to do well since then, but this is the right time for Marco Asensio to repay his manager’s faith.

Looking at Asensio’s form post lockdown, where he had 3 goals and 1 assist in 363 minutes at an average of 91 minutes per a goal contribution, I expected this season to be Asensio’s season. I thought we might get to see Asensio become the goalscoring winger this club wanted. Sadly things haven’t gone as expected. But if he manages to step-up in the absence of Karim Benzema in a big Champions League knockout game, he can win back the trust of the fans.

He has scored two goals this season, and both of those have come from counterattacks. While one of those came off a sequence where Modric won the ball in the opposition half and launched a counter, the other came off a fantabulous Toni Kroos through ball against Levante, where he made an excellent run on the blindside of the defence on the break. If he wants to score more goals, then he should definitely have a look at those goals he has scored in the last ten months.

In each of those goals, his positioning was perfect for the break. He wasn’t the ball carrier in the build-up to those goals, and he made some well-timed runs breaking the offside trap. He is usually criticised a lot for ball-hogging on the break and slowing down the centre attacks. But if one can observe, whenever Asensio has tried to be the ball carrier with bodies in front of him, he has failed to create something good out of the counter-attack. But whenever he had focused more on his off-the-ball movement, he was able to create danger.

That is exactly what Asensio should do, to be on the receiving end of chances and not be on the creative end. The team has some great creators in Kroos and Modric. What the team needs is a goalscorer, not another creator. If Asensio sticks to his strengths and focuses more on the team’s needs, then he can do well in the goalscoring department.