Real Madrid's Marco Asensio already a superstar, says Terry Gibson
Last Updated: 28/08/17 9:08pm
Marco Asensio is already a superstar after making his remarkable breakthrough from Real Madrid's "shadow team", says Terry Gibson
The 21-year-old scored twice for the La Liga champions on Sunday as they battled to a 2-2 draw with Valencia, taking his tally to five goals in his last six competitive matches for Real - including the Champions League final victory in June.
His sensational form has seen Sky Sports pundit Gibson tip him to become one of the world's best players and believes the attacking midfielder is already near the top of his game.
"He has everything. Balance, skill, touch, technique, the ability to dribble and take players on. He can look after himself and by that I mean withstanding physical pressure from players who will try and be aggressive with him," he told the La Liga Weekly podcast.
"He's not bothered in the slightest about taking people on and taking a whack or two. With his finishing, it seems like he never misses. I'm actually excited about watching him now on a regular basis.
"I think he is going to be one of the top players in the world and in my opinion, he's already a superstar.
"For a young player to transition like this - coming from Mallorca and staying there an extra season after Real Madrid have bought him, then going to Espanyol and performing rather well - if we're being honest, nobody thought he was going to be this good so quickly.
"When he came back, I was wondering if they could have left him at Espanyol for another season to play regularly rather than coming back to Real Madrid and perhaps not getting as much playing time. I was totally wrong.
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"Zinedine Zidane has been willing to give the young players opportunities and he's made the breakthrough from that shadow squad we saw at Real last season.
"Some have moved on, like Pepe, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, but he is the one who has made the breakthrough from being in that shadow team and whether Cristiano Ronaldo was available or not, after that performance from Asensio [against Valencia], he absolutely has to start in the next match.
"Whether that's going to change when Ronaldo is back - he has two games left on his ban - and give Zidane the chance to rest players when the Champions League starts.
"But at this moment, to see a 21-year-old make such rapid progress, scoring goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, scoring in the final and scoring two goals against Barcelona in the Super Cup plus dragging his team to get a point last night. He's a remarkable player."
While answering a hypothetical question on who Real would potentially sell between Asensio and Ronaldo, Gibson offered a surprising answer although says Los Blancos would have beaten Valencia with Ronaldo on the field.
"I guess you'd probably sell Ronaldo, I would imagine because Asensio is 11 years younger. That would be the only reason and it would make sense," he added.
"In fairness to Ronaldo, if he played on Sunday. Real Madrid would've won probably four or five to two and then we're talking completely differently about Valencia.
"Karim Benzema missed quite a few chances and they're the type of goals that you feel Ronaldo has become an expert on in the last few years with the one touch finishes from crosses into the box. Ronaldo is such a miss for Real Madrid."