Cristiano Ronaldo is once again being linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but Marco Asensio “can’t imagine playing without him”.
The Portuguese forward has dominated the headlines of late following his shock exit hint in the wake of another successful Champions League campaign for the Blancos.
Ronaldo has offered mixed messages since then, while his family and former managers – such as Fabio Capello – have suggested that a return to Manchester United could be on the cards.
Asensio hopes that is not the case, with the 22-year-old eager to ensure that a five-time Ballon d’Or winner remains an illustrious team-mate at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018-19.
It has been suggested that Asensio could be the man to fill the void for Madrid once Ronaldo does depart, with a modern day icon now 33 years of age.
A highly-rated creative talent is, however, reluctant to be drawn on whether he will ever take on such a role, with his game still very much a learning process at present.
Asensio added: “We're different players. I like to drop a little to receive the ball and have more contact with it, being less of a finisher. Everyone evolves as a footballer through learning and we'll see in the future what position I play.”
A man who joined Madrid for just €3.9 million from Real Mallorca in 2014 is also keen to avoid being drawn into a debate regarding his current value.
Big-money moves away from the Spanish capital have been mooted at times, but Asensio claims to be happy where he is and unable to speculate on a figure he would demand in the current transfer market.
He said: “I don't know. I don't control the way the prices in the market are, but it's true that it'll have gone up quite a bit since I signed. These prices are worked out by the clubs and by circumstance. I don't know what I'd be worth now.”
For now, Asensio is focused on World Cup 2018 duty with Spain.
He is a relative newcomer to the senior international fold and is still coming to terms with a hectic few weeks which have seen Zinedine Zidane quit as his club boss and national coach Julen Lopetegui display considerable faith in him.
“The Zidane exit took us all a little but by surprise, but my experience with him has been really good,” added Asensio.
“He has trusted me a lot and we have a really good relationship. From the start I had things clear in my mind, knowing what I was coming to. I have worked hard to have these opportunities and he gave me them. It has been the same with Lopetegui. From the start, it was really good as he spoke to me a lot and demanded a lot of me too. This is really important for me.”