Marco Asensio Talks Barcelona Interest, Lionel Messi Comparisons and More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 09: Marco Asensio of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Levante at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 9, 2017 in Madrid, Spain . (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Marco Asensio has revealed he turned down the chance to join Barcelona before moving to Real Madrid. He also said his current manager Zinedine Zidane has compared his left foot to Lionel Messi's. 

Asensio signed for Los Blancos from Mallorca in 2014 and has since gone on to establish himself as one of the best young players in the game. Speaking to Cadena Cope (h/t Football Espana) the 21-year-old said things could have easily been different.

"There was an option to sign for Barcelona and other teams before I moved to Madrid," he admitted. "I'm so proud to play for this club not just because of who they are, but for what they have done for me personally, also I love the fans and they have been fantastic."

As noted by FourFourTwo, in the same interview Asensio detailed how Zidane praised his left foot.

"Zidane told me that since Messi, he had never seen a left foot like mine," admitted the 21-year-old. "I was a little impressed, because Messi is a piece of a footballer."

As noted below, Asensio's agent Horacio Gaggioli revealed the midfielder was close to making the switch to the Camp Nou, but Barcelona were unwilling to part with the amount needed to get him:

Missing out on Asensio looks set to be a costly error for the Blaugrana, as he's destined to go to the top of the game at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Having spent two seasons out on loan after joining Real, he was part of the first-team squad in 2016-17 and made a big impression. Although he wasn't a regular starter Asensio was able to showcase his exceptional talent when he was on the pitch and did so in some big games.

As noted by Squawka Football, no matter what the occasion, the youngster was able to adapt and flourish quickly:

His season finished with the fourth goal in the 4-1 UEFA Champions League final win over Juventus, and this one started with two brilliant goals against Barcelona in each leg of the Super Cup. It's clear Madrid have a diamond on their hands.

And now, any club keen on signing Asensio face an almost impossible task. Indeed, the man himself admitted that even the riches of Paris Saint-Germain wouldn't temp him away from the Bernabeu.

"I have a release clause, although I don't think I'll be leaving here," he said in the same interview (h/t Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC). "With how well I have been playing, I have earned the love of the fans. My idea is to stay. I would not go to PSG. I am happy here."

Madridistas will be delighted to hear that's the case. After all, as noted by Corrigan, he's already a decisive footballer for Zidane's side:

The next steps for Asensio at Madrid are going to be intriguing to watch. While he may not yet be good enough to make his way into the starting XI when everyone is fit for Los Blancos, he's doing enough to ensure he can't be ignored by Zidane for much longer.

Nevertheless, provided he continues on this upward trajectory, Madrid and the Spanish national team may have a once-in-a-generation footballer on their hands. Barca will no doubt look on enviously at Asensio's development.