La Liga

Marco Asensio: ‘Rafael Nadal key to Real Madrid move’

Marco Asensio has claimed that tennis player Rafael Nadal convinced Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to sign the Spanish attacker from Mallorca.

Asensio, 21, agreed a six-year contract with Real Madrid in November 2014, but did not make his first-team debut for Los Blancos until the 2016-17 campaign following loan spells at Mallorca and Espanyol.

The attacker has been a key contributor to Real Madrid this season – scoring nine times in 37 appearances for a club that is chasing a league and Champions League double.

Mallorca-born former world number one Nadal seemingly played a key role in Asensio’s move to Madrid, however, with the 30-year-old making contact with Perez in late 2014 to discuss the youngster.

“That anecdote is true. Rafa Nadal called Florentino and told him that they could not let me escape,” he told AS. “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.

“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.”

Asensio has made seven Champions League appearances for Real Madrid en route to this season’s final.

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