Barcelona lost opportunity to sign Marco Asensio - agent
Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio's agent has told Bleacher Report that Barcelona "lost the opportunity" to sign the player as a teenager due to a disagreement over payment terms with his former club Real Mallorca.
Asensio has burst to prominence over the last 12 months, becoming the first player ever to score on his debut in five different competitions for Madrid, and gave another example of his talent with a fine goal in Sunday's 3-1 Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona.
The youngster's potential was no secret as he came through at hometown club Mallorca, and it was widely reported that he almost joined Barca in summer 2014 only for the deal to fall through, with Madrid then tying up a deal worth €3.9 million.
Asensio's long-time agent, Horacio Gaggioli, confirmed Barca had been close to an agreement but said the move fell through as Mallorca, who were in financial difficulty, wanted €4.5m up front and the Catalan club wanted to pay only €2.5m initially with €2m to follow.
"Barca said: 'No, we're not able.' They lost the opportunity," Gaggioli said. "When they changed their mind after three months, it was too late."
By that time Madrid, apparently tipped off by Mallorca-born Bernabeu regular Rafa Nadal, had made their move for the then 18-year-old.
Gagglioli said: "The offer from Real Madrid for Asensio was 20 times better than Barcelona's in every aspect, football-wise and financially."
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo has reported that Asensio grew up as a Barca fan, but Gagglioli said his client had always supported Madrid and closely followed the career of Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane when he was still playing at the Bernabeu.
"His idol as a child was always Zinedine Zidane," Gaggioli said. "He used to have a huge picture of him on his wall."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan