Marco Asensio believes he “has plenty to offer” Paris Saint-Germain in their latest bid for a maiden Champions League title, having previously lifted the trophy three times with Real Madrid.
The 28-year-old joined PSG on a free transfer from Madrid in the summer but missed more than two months of action with a foot injury.
He has been a key player since the winter break, though, starting the last three Ligue 1 matches and scoring twice.
PSG host Real Sociedad in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday, hoping to avoid a third straight exit from the competition in the first knock-out round.
Asensio knows what it takes to go all the way, having won the title in 2017, 2018 and 2022 with Real, scoring in the final seven years ago against Juventus.
“My football, my experience and my leadership,” he told AFP when asked what he brings to a young PSG side rebuilding after the departures of Lionel Messi and Neymar.
“I’ve been in the football world for a long time, I’ve had my share of success and I believe I have a lot to offer.
“I can be an example and a source of inspiration for the club’s young players.”
PSG are still waiting to lift the European Cup for the first time, despite reaching the knock-out phase in 12 consecutive seasons under their Qatari owners.
A front three of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could not deliver the trophy.
Asensio was one of 13 new signings in the close-season, along with fellow forwards Goncalo Ramos, Randal Kolo Muani, Ousmane Dembele and Lee Kang-in.
The Spain international is confident the new-look squad, under new coach Luis Enrique, can compete in the latter stages of Europe’s biggest club competition.
“With the club, the staff and the players, we are on the right track, united, and I believe that we will accomplish great things,” he added.
“We all get along well and we are very ambitious. We have already won a title (the Champions’ Trophy) and soon, in a very short period, the league, the French Cup and the Champions League, all three very important, will be decided.
“We aim to win all the competitions we compete in.”
Luis Enrique ‘very demanding’
Former Spain and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique took over before the start of the season and PSG have steadily improved following a slow start to the campaign.
The reigning French champions appear set to comfortably defend their league title, sitting 11 points clear of second-placed Nice at the top of the table.
PSG edged through their Champions League group as runners-up behind Borussia Dortmund, and are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions since a loss to AC Milan in November.
“The relationship is good,” Asensio said of playing under his ex-Spain boss Luis Enrique.
“After working with him for the national team, I already knew his working method, what he expects from the team and what he asks of each player.
“He is a very demanding coach, and to tell the truth one of the best I have ever had, in terms of his discipline and his professionalism, his standards towards himself and towards us.”
PSG avoided Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester City, who have each knocked them out over the past three seasons, in the last-16 draw despite failing to win Group F.
But Asensio warned his teammates to avoid any complacency against Real Sociedad, who have not reached the quarter-finals since 1983.
“The matches will be difficult,” said Asensio. “La Real is a team that I know well, they play very good football, very effective…
“It will be a complicated two-legged tie, but we will do our best to try to beat them and qualify.”
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)