Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio has said he never considered leaving the Santiago Bernabeu after being linked with a move away from the club over the summer.
"I've never had the intention to go anywhere," he said, per Goal's Sacha Pisani. "This is my third season, in this one I think I have continuity and more prominence, and I'm seeing the performance I'm doing."
Asensio was in superb form for Spain on Tuesday. He scored and grabbed three assists as Luis Enrique's side demolished 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists Croatia 6-0 in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League.
Opta highlighted just how impressive his performance was:
Asensio has also started the season brightly for Real Madrid. He has featured in all three La Liga victories, winning three penalties, per WhoScored.com:
Marco Asensio: Having failed to win a single penalty in 55 La Liga apps for Real Madrid in 2016/17 and 2017/18, Asensio has won 3 penalties in 3 league apps this season, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues For more player stats -- https://t.co/nt6XeVcNgo https://t.co/sKYHmUTHlv
The 22-year-old has already won La Liga and two UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid, but he can expect to play a more important role following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Evening Standard's Ben Hayward said he will get more minutes under new manager Julen Lopetegui:
The youngster looks to have a big future for both club and country. He has bags of potential, can play in a variety of positions and is capable of scoring spectacular goals.
He signed a six-year deal at Real Madrid in 2017 which will keep him at the club until 2023. The contract includes a €500 million (£442 million) release clause, per Sky Sports.
Real Madrid have not moved to sign a big-name replacement for Ronaldo. Yet the Portugal international has hardly been missed in the early weeks of the season.
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have flourished under Lopetegui, and Real Madrid have started with maximum points and 10 goals from their first three games.
Sports journalist Robbie Dunne said Ronaldo's departure may benefit Asensio the most:
Asensio has a great opportunity this season to cement his place in the Real Madrid starting XI. On current form he looks well placed to have his most influential season yet at the Bernabeu.