Marco Asensio Willemsen (21-1-1996, Palma) arrive relaxed at your interview with AS. He has done double, League and Champions, with a legendary team and returns to the National Team a year and a half later. He ends his contract with Madrid in a year and has changed his representative, now he is Jorge Mendes. It’s easy to get the message from him: he wants to play more. But he transmits it from the calm of a mature footballer.
This interview, curiously, takes place in the Gento classroom of the Ciudad del Fútbol de las Rozas. Nobody has won more European Cups than him. Do you have the feeling of writing the history of Madrid?
It is a golden age for Madrid, very important. For the conquest of titles, for how you win them. We are facing a generation that has been important, is important, and has much more to give. All the Madrid fans are enjoying themselves a lot and that makes me happy.
What image do you have of the celebration the other day on the lawn in Saint Denis? And, above all, that flash of his header that allowed Rodrygo to make it 2-1 with City, is it his moment in this Champions League?
Yes, good. It is true that I also scored a good goal against Inter and I remember it with joy. It was in the first phase. But it is true that the goal against City, generating that Rodrygo could score the goal…
Did you make a joke with Rodrygo?
(laughs) Yes, yes. We made some joke, yes.
Reviewing your statistics this year, it can be seen that you have played little. Little more than 2,000 official minutes with his club, since he has not come to the National Team. But he is the team’s third top scorer and scores a goal every 170′. That’s a lot. Don’t you get the feeling that he plays too little for what he scores?
Yes. The truth is that, as you say, the statistics are very good. It is my best scoring season in Madrid. There has been a stretch in which I have had that continuity and that regularity. That’s when I was able to demonstrate and score more goals. I have had more regularity in the game. In the final stretch, I have not had that regularity. The coach has counted less on me. But I’m proud of what I’ve done this season. The work has paid off, we have won titles and with that I stay.
During many moments of the season he was not only involved. He also showing stripes and showing some leadership like that Granada day in which he scored a decisive goal. Are you disappointed that the season ends like this, without minutes?
Personally, I am not disappointed because I know that I have given my all throughout the year. In the end, there are things that do not depend on me and that I cannot control. But what depends on me and I have controlled, I have done well. I have tried to give my best, the best of me to get these titles that we have won this season. That is why I am not disappointed. When I have been given the opportunity, I have taken it. I have given my maximum and that is what counts and it has made me happy.
When you hear that famous phrase in football that talent “is under suspicion”, do you feel identified? In the end, you are a player of moments and with a brutal quality, the goal, but you lack that continuity over time. Is your talent not well exploited, is it not well protected?
That in the end gives you continuity. It’s been three or four months that I’ve had it but I don’t want to stay with it. In the end, confidence is very important for a player, knowing that in a season you can have those 40 or 50 games a year and that gives you a lot in terms of confidence, to demand yourself. In numbers, in helping the team. It is what I value personally and what will have to be seen….
A friend of his like Isco closes a stage in Madrid. Another friend of his, Marcelo, who famously gave him the go-ahead pass against Juventus in the 2017 final in Cardiff, closes another. You have changed your agent (now you are Jorge Mendes? Is it time to change?
It is an issue that my agent is dealing with right now, as you have commented. I am focused on the National Team and it is true that, when these games are over, things will have to be assessed. I want to continue growing, I am very hungry to achieve more in my career and that is what I focus on.
Has there been any final conversation with Ancelotti after the Champions League title or have they left it for later?
I know what the coach thinks. He is very happy with my season and trusts me a lot. They are words that he has not said to me. It is true that with the celebration of the Champions League, I have not had time to do much…, but when everything calms down a bit and these two weeks with the National Team are over, which is now the most important thing for me, everything will be discussed it’s.
Well, let’s move on to the Selection. You have been a long time without coming, since October 2020 and that 6-0 against Germany. The coach has been sincere and has said that you have come because there are absences like Oyarzabal or Gerard but that, when you have come, you have performed. How do you plan these two weeks with the group?
Well, the sensations are very good. Being back in the national team is always good. As you said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been with the National Team and I face it with the utmost enthusiasm, wanting to help and contribute. This team is very united. The most important thing is the group and, in that sense, Luis Enrique is clear and it is the key that he has played a good role in the last competitions we have played.
Does Luis Enrique’s way of working change much compared to Ancelotti and Zidane, or to that of other coaches that he has had in his sports career in other places?
Is different. In Madrid, in the end, a season is long. In the National Team everything is shorter and more intense. Luis Enrique wants to instill in us what he wants to work on, his idea of the game. Everything is more compressed. The talks, what he wants to convey to us is more intense. But this is good. His ideas are good and have given results in recent times
What do you think you can contribute differently to the National Team compared to other players who have not come in this call such as Oyarzabal or Gerard?
In the end, what I can contribute is already known by the coach and everyone knows. Because of the position and what has been seen, everyone knows my characteristics. Apart from all that, trying to give my best, working hard, which is what the coach likes, and having a positive attitude in the group.
Do you think that your teammates, in a certain way, look differently when two League and Champions League champions arrive, has the reception been good? In the end there are many Barça players…
Well, they have received us very well. They have congratulated us, both Dani and me. Also to Thiago, who also reached the Champions League final… In the end, this is football and sometimes they win some and other times, others. We have had a great season. It is true that it is important, that in my case there are already three Champions Leagues. And so I want to continue.
It gives the feeling, by closing the interview, that you are at a stage in your career that needs a little more. Can it be your feeling too?
Yes. Really. Because of how the season has gone and what I’ve already experienced in my career, it’s true that I want more, I’m hungry for a lot more and if I didn’t I would retire, obviously (laughs). But I still have many challenges to meet. I want to aspire to be the best player I can be and that’s how I work in all aspects. I want to continue on that path and I think that this season good things have been seen in relatively few minutes. I want to have more minutes, generate more for the team.
The people who are close to you, what do they recommend to you every day, what do they tell you?
In what sense?
Well, if you believe that it is a moment of change, of no-change. What do you listen to, what catches your attention that you can receive willingly?
Really, we are talking about leaving (Madrid) or not, but I still have one year left on my contract. It is an important moment for me, I will not deny it. It is a moment of maturity. I feel more mature and not only football-wise. It is an important moment for me in which I have to decide many things. And those of me and those around me are clear that I have to continue growing, moving forward. I want to do things in football and they help me achieve what I aspire to. More than recommendation or advice, it is to support me and support what I do.
Is the finishing touch to 2022 to be in the World Cup?
Of course. It is a goal I have in mind. Now there are four games against powerful rivals and we have to take it with the utmost calm but, at the same time, giving our best so that the coach is happy and can be on the next list.