Marco Asensio was one of the most disappointing Real Madrid players in the 2020-2021 season. He was anonymous in most games off the right-hand side of the attack, and he never looked comfortable taking defenders one-on-one. So to start the 2021-2022 campaign, new manager Carlo Ancelotti made it clear that he saw Asensio as more of a midfield playmaker than an inverted winger.
Since then, Ancelotti has viewed things differently. Asensio struggled on the right wing in a 0-0 draw with Osasuna, and it was the same story for the Andalusian in a 2-1 win over Elche after he entered the pitch when Rodrygo Goes went down with an early injury.
But Asensio made strides a week later in another 2-1 win, this time over Rayo Vallecano. The 25-year-old was more dangerous against Rayo, even putting together three key passes.
Asensio kept getting opportunities at a position he failed at for a full season. That surprised Madridistas, but Ancelotti knew what he was doing. And Asensio rewarded the Madrid manager with his best performance at the position to date, helping lead the charge in a 4-1 win over Granada. Asensio scored a goal, had three dribbles completed, two key passes, and a pair of fouls drawn.
Davide Ancelotti told Carlo to believe in Marco Asensio
According to a report from Bernabeu Digital, it isn’t just Asensio’s recent performances that have changed Carlo Ancelotti’s outlook and even led to rumblings of an extension.
Even before that, someone at Real Madrid went to bat for Asensio and wanted the attacker to get more opportunities. And his name is Ancelotti. Davide Ancelotti.
The assistant manager and son of Carletto noticed how hard Asensio was working in training and saw that he could still offer something to Los Blancos. Thus, it seems the elder Ancelotti stuck with Asensio on the right side of the attack for those La Liga fixtures, and Asensio stepped up to the plate.
Asensio’s mental toughness over the past year has been tested amidst struggles and criticisms, but maybe we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for a talented player who has had to change his game after a devastating injury.
Credit to Carlo for finding a tactical role for Asensio that allows him to express himself in central areas, credit to Davide for sticking up for his players as an assistant manager, and, most of all, credit to the player himself for putting in the work. Now comes the challenge of continuing and building on these encouraging displays…