Marco Asensio has been backed by his former manager to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-term replacement at Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old was brought into the Blancos team to face Valencia on Sunday evening, with Ronaldo still serving his suspension for pushing the referee in the Clasico at Camp Nou earlier this month
Asensio opened the scoring after 10 minutes, curling the ball past Neto, before beating the Valencia goalkeeper again in the 83rd minute from a free-kick to rescue a point for Zinedine Zidane’s team.
Asensio enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for Real in 2016-17 having spent time on loan at boyhood club Mallorca, and then at Espanyol. He scored 10 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions last season and has forced himself into Zidane’s first-team plans again this time round.
Constantin Galca, who worked with Asensio during their time at Espanyol, has not been surprised by the Spain international’s rapid progression and is in full belief that he will eventually be the heir to Ronaldo’s throne at the Bernabeu.
“I really think he can,” he told Goal. “Because every player in the world can and has to be replaced at some point. Asensio is good enough to be the next key player in Real Madrid after Cristiano finishes his time there.
“He already belongs to the very best and he has a big potential to become one of the very top few players in the world.
“It is also due to the fact that he does not only have great football abilities, but an exceptional human quality, too. I was surprised by his mentality and the way he thought. For his age, he was exceptionally mature in his thinking. His ideas were very clear about what he wanted to do and achieve.
“I hope that one day, Asensio will win the Golden Ball. He has enough talent to do so.”
Galca believes that Asensio not only holds the physical attributes needed to be considered one of the greatest, but the mental aptitude also.
“He was one of the first players I could really talk with and his quality was just enormous,” he added. “I could always rely on him. He has been one of the best players I have ever worked with, and he belongs to the best on the planet in my opinion.
“He has a great quality in terms of speed, strength and technique. The best thing about him is the level of performance he can maintain throughout the whole game. He is able to run all game, he never gets tired.
“A top player cannot use only his physical or simply football quality, but he has to have a perfect mix of physical, mental quality and tactical intelligence if he ever wants to become a top football player. And Asensio ticks all the boxes, so that’s why I think he is destined to become one of the greatest.”