Why Barcelona failed to sign Marco Asensio

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The young midfielder will be turning out for Los Blancos in the Clasico on Sunday, but could easily have ended up on the opposite side


SPECIAL REPORT

Marco Asensio is one of the brightest stars in European football - and he could have signed for Barcelona instead of Real Madrid.

The talented 21-year-old joined Los Blancos in 2014, but Barca were ahead of their fierce rivals in the race for his signature at that time. A deal was in place, the player wanted to join and reportedly even travelled to the Catalan capital to search for a property.

Andoni Zubizarreta, the sporting director at Barca, had no doubt the youngster was destined for big things. But Barca were unwilling to pay what Mallorca were asking for. Or, more to the point, they were not prepared to pay up front.

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Barca had agreed a deal for €4.5m, which was to be paid in two installments. However, Mallorca's delicate economic situation saw the Balearic side ask for all the money at once. And Barca's director general at the time, Antoni Rossich, said no.

But Madrid were also interested and Los Blancos had no issue with paying up front. allowing the player to stay with Mallorca on loan for another season and shelling out just €3.9m for his services. And so a footballer who had shown his admiration for Barca on social media (the tweets were later deleted), ended up signing for Madrid.

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And it was in Barcelona where he confirmed his prowess, with some impressive performances on loan at Espanyol last season before winning over Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in pre-season and hitting a stunning strike on his competitive debut in the UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla in August.

Asensio, who was 21 in January, is now one of the sensations of the season in Spain and Europe and after featuring for 13 minutes as a substitute at Camp Nou in the 1-1 draw in December, he will be looking to make an even greater impact in the next Clasico clash on Sunday, when he could easily have been turning out in Barca blaugrana instead of the white of Real.

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