Real Madrid: Players to Watch

by AT&T Digital Media Productions

beIN Sports El Clasico Real Madrid Players Asensio

Cristiano Ronaldo has been given his fifth Ballon d’Or award as the best-performing football player in the world in 2017. After helping Portugal win Euro 2016, he scored 42 goals for Real in all competitions as they won their 33rd La Liga title and 12th European Cup. At FIFA's awards in October, Ronaldo was named the world's best male player and also named in the Fifpro World XI.

The 32 year old has been on fire in the Champions League once again this year, scoring in all six group-stage matches. However, after returning from his five-game suspension for pushing a referee, he’s been struggling with only two goals in 10 La Liga matches.

While FC Barça currently sits atop of the league standings undefeated, Real is in 4th place, just eight points behind their rivals. Los Blancos will need Cristiano to show up, as Barcelona has been on a tear. But Madrid has two other players who can turn the tide in their favor.

Sergio Ramos, the great captain

Two minutes of stoppage time remained on an unforgettable evening at the Estadio de La Luz in Lisbon, where Sergio Ramos tattooed his name on the minds of Madrid fans after driving a header from a corner kick into the net. The acrobatic goal ignited a spectacular comeback that put the "Décima Orejona" on the table.

Since that Champions League Final in May 2014, Ramos, named La Liga’s Best Defender four consecutive years from 2012-15, has become the go-to savior when the top goal scorers disappear. Club Manager Zinedine Zidane awarded the 31 year old the Captains arm band for the 2017 season and he hasn’t disappointed. Teammates and fans will be looking to Ramos again to carry the team, as they step onto their home pitch against arch enemy, Barcelona.

Marco Asensio, the new kid on the block

Not since Raúl Gonzalez registered nine goals in 28 appearances in his rookie debut, helping Real Madrid win the 1994–95 league championship, have the merengues been so excited about a kid donning the whites. The explosive 21 year old is the current top scorer on the team, and the blaugrana’s bore witness to the attacking midfielder’s skills twice early in this season.

With the best left foot since Messi and a veteran player’s vision of pitch, Zidane feels he can play the youngster on either flank, or center, and help plug the gap given Gareth Bale’s injury issues. As he continues to develop his game, Asensio’s impact at Bernabeu will grow exponentially, and he’ll find himself in the starting lineup more often.

Look for Asensio to take advantage of his minutes on the field at El Clásico and begin writing his own story as Cristiano’s heir while 400 million people witness around the world.

Experience the action December 23 only on beIN Sports, channel 620.

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