Marco Asensio’s frighteningly good performance on Sunday night against Valencia reminded people that as well as being the future of Real Madrid, he can also be the present. But what does that mean for Gareth Bale?
Asensio scored both goals in the 2-2 draw, with the first a delightful strike from distance after a powerful drive from midfield and the second a perfectly-placed free kick.
Everyone at Real has known about the former Real Mallorca man’s talent for some time, but his seamless ability to step up his game no matter what the stage has impressed even his greatest fans.
The 21-year-old has already scored four goals in just five games this season, meaning that he is already almost halfway to Bale’s tally from last season and the transfer window hasn’t even shut yet.
Football fans are not known for their patience and Bale’s repeated absences from Zinedine Zidane’s team sheets in recent times have left supporters exasperated.
There had been hints that Bale was ready and capable of becoming Real’s go-to man, a particularly fine performance against Rayo Vallecano at the Estadio De Vallecas in the 2015/16 season springs to mind, but in the end, if you cannot guarantee he will be on the pitch, you cannot guarantee that he will perform.
That, coupled with Asensio’s seemingly boundless potential have seen a seismic shift take place in the pecking order at the Bernabeu, with Bale, a world-record transfer just four years ago, arguably surplus to requirements.
Whilst Florentino Perez’s last real Galactico signing continues to fight his injury troubles, the Bernabeu faithful has a new idol. A bright, young thing who floats around the pitch with the grace of a ballet dancer turned cold-blooded assassin when afforded a sight of goal.
Like it or lump it, it appears that Bale’s time at an undisputed starter at Real is coming to an end if it hasn’t already.