Marco Asensio has been something of a revelation for Real Madrid this season.
Under Zinedine Zidane, the young attacking midfielder has made 37 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine goals and notching up three assists in the process.
While these numbers may not seem the most impressive, you have to remember that the majority of these appearances came off the bench.
He has been directly involved in 12 goals in just 1,324 minutes of play, with a passing accuracy average of 89% to boot.
Asensio originally joined Real in 2014, and it turns out that this was down to tennis ace and longtime Real supporter Rafael Nadal.
Nadal convinced club president Florentino Perez to sign the exciting youngster from Mallorca, who shone for the first team in the Segunda Division.
Last month, Nadal revealed that he phoned Florentino to tell him to bring Asensio to Real, something which has been backed up by Asensio.
He told AS, as per Goal: “That anecdote is true. Rafa Nadal called Florentino and told him that they could not let me escape.
“In the winter, my agent called me to say Real Madrid were interested. Then Florentino called before a game to tell me I was going to be a Real Madrid player.”
It sounds like the transfer was a whirlwind of excitement for Asensio after Nadal’s involvement was taken seriously by Florentino.
“Everything happened in one day: we travelled to Madrid, signed the contract, visited the Bernabeu and we returned to Mallorca to finish the season. It was all fast and intense, but the satisfaction was huge.”
Nadal’s phone call wasn’t the first time Florentino had been made aware of Asensio’s talents, however. Indeed, Asensio’s mother told him many years ago him during a family trip.
“One day we went on a trip with the family and we were taking a walk in the port and there was Florentino Perez’s boat.
“My mother recognised him and called him over to take a picture of us and told him that I was going to be Real Madrid player. One of life’s coincidences, but it has been so and he also remembers that anecdote so beautifully.”
Asensio not only has his mother to thank, but also Nadal, after it was his phone call that ensured Florentino of his qualities as a player. The lad has a lot of expectation around him as a footballer, but he has proven this season that he has the qualities to prove a success at Real Madrid.
Even his name has labelled him with expectations.
“My parents told me that the name of their first child was chosen by my father and the second by my mother. She is Dutch and named me after Marco van Basten.
“Zinedine Zidane was my idol as a kid, I had a poster of him in the room. Now he is my coach and we are proud of that.”
It sounds like Marco Asensio’s rise to Real Madrid was written in the stars from day one. If he continues this season’s form into the next, then he is sure of a big future at the Galacticos.