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Turns Out Rafa Nadal Played A Crucial Role In Real Madrid's CL Win Over Bayern

Turns Out Rafa Nadal Played A Crucial Role In Real Madrid's CL Win Over Bayern
By Gavan Casey Updated
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Real Madrid host Barcelona in tomorrow's El Clásico with Zinedine Zidane's side looking to extend their lead atop La Liga to six points with a game in hand.

They enter tomorrow's having enjoyed contrasting fortunes in their respective Champions League quarter-finals, with Barcelona having failed to score in over 180 minutes versus Juventus and Madrid having seen off Bayern with the help of some ramshackle officiating in the second leg.

The scorer of one of Madrid's onside goals at the Bernabeu was one Marco Asensio, the 21-year-old recently described by Vincent Del Bosque as "the biggest talent in Spanish football." The attacking midfielder has announced himself on the world stage with a string of impressive performances for Madrid in recent weeks despite being relatively unheralded - until recently - since his Madrid arrival in 2014.

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After an assist in Munich and a stunning goal in the return leg, Asensio is being widely tipped to start tomorrow's Clásico against the side who tried to sign him from Mallorca three years ago. Real Madrid got the jump on their bitter nemeses however, thanks in no small part to one of their most famous fans.

Spanish publication AS have reported that back in 2013, tennis star Rafael Nadal - Mallorca's most famous athlete but a Real Madrid fan - was blown away having seen Asensio in the flesh. So impressed was the 14-time Grand Slam champion, in fact, that he gave his old pal Florentino Perez a buzz and told the Real Madrid president: "You have to sign him as soon as possible."

And so with Barcelona circling around the then-16-year-old, Madrid swooped in an nicked the imperiously talented Spanish youth star for a mere €3.5m, which in retrospect seems like a pisstake.

With an assist and a goal in the Champions League quarter-finals, and string of sublime La Liga performances to boot, Asensio is now ahead of megabucks signing James Rodriguez and even Isco in Zinedine Zidane's pecking order.

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Should Marco Asensio contribute to a Real Madrid victory on Sunday night, it could be game, set and match for this season's La Liga title. Sorry, couldn't resist.

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