How Rafa Nadal Played A Key Role In One Of Real Madrid’s Best Deals
Rafael Nadal has his hands tied being one of the greatest tennis players ever to play the sport, winning a total of 14 grand slams, but he does have time on his hands to get involved in the world of football transfers, it seems.
The 30-year old is a staunch Real Madrid supporter, while he also has a connection with local club RCD Mallorca and once had a 10 percent stake in the club along with his uncle Miguel, formerly assistant manager at the club when Michael Laudrup was in charge.
And Nadal played a key role in a bit of business between the two clubs he holds dearest, with a report from La Sexta claiming that after seeing Marco Asensio in action for Mallorca as a 17-year old, he instructed Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to snap him up.
"Presi, you must sign this kid." he is quoted as saying.
Asensio did then join Real for a dirt cheap €3.9 million (£2.5 million) and after spending another season on loan at Mallorca, as well as a temporary stint with Espanyol the following season, the Spaniard has been included in Real Madrid's first-team fold this season under Zinedine Zidane and has been in fine form.
The 21-year old has made 37 appearances this season, scoring nine goals - including this stunning strike on his debut against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup:
Another one of his key contributions arrived when he came off the bench in the Champions League quarter final second leg against Bayern Munich and notched a lovely solo goal to seal a 4-2 extra time win at the Bernabeu as Los Blancos progressed to the semi-final via a 6-3 aggregate score.
And the man himself has confirmed that Nadal was indeed instrumental in him joining Real.
Speaking to AS, he said:
"That anecdote is true. Rafa Nadal called Florentino and told him that they could not let me escape.
"In the winter, my agent called me to say Real Madrid were interested. Then Florentino called before a game to tell me I was going to be a Real Madrid player.
"Everything happened in one day, we travelled to Madrid, signed the contract, visited the Bernabeu and we returned to Mallorca to finish the season. It was all fast and intense, but the satisfaction was huge."
Rafa Nadal - wheeler dealer. Real have a real gem in Asensio and they have a two-time Wimbledon champion to thank for getting him.