Sunday 22 October 2017

How Rafael Nadal helped Real Madrid sign Marco Asensio

The tennis star started negotiations when the youngster was at Real Mallorca

Tennis player Rafael Nadal greets prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League group G match between Real Madrid and AFC Ajax at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 15, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Tennis player Rafael Nadal greets prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League group G match between Real Madrid and AFC Ajax at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 15, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Evan Bartlett

Rafael Nadal played a crucial role in the transfer of Marco Asensio to Real Madrid, according to the club's president Florentino Perez.

Asensio shot to prominence this month after scoring in the Champions League final and netting a hat-trick for Spain at the Euro Under-21 Championship but it was at boyhood club Real Mallorca where he first caught the eye.

Madrid signed the then 19-year-old in the summer of 2015 for a fee of around £3m and it was all prompted by a phone call from Nadal to his uncle Miguel Angel.

"I called Rafa Nadal and asked him to talk to his uncle Miguel Angel, who was Mallorca's sports director," Perez told Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Monday night.

"[I told Nadal] to tell him that we wanted to buy him [Asensio].

"He behaved perfectly and we closed the deal quickly."

Despite being born in Mallorca and having an uncle who played for Barcelona's 'Dream Team' of the early nineties, Nadal has always been a Madrid fan.

Nevertheless, he stepped in to help his hometown club when they were struggling financially in 2010 and was said to have bought a 10 per cent stake.

The club has since been bought out by American business tycoon Robert Sarver but have struggled on the pitch.

Mallorca will be playing in the Spanish third tier next season for the first time since 1980 after finishing 20th in the Segunda.

(© Independent News Service)

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