Andres Iniesta has called on Spain's football coaches to help bring Marco Asensio's game on to the next level so fans can enjoy his talents for "many years" to come.
The Real Madrid star has begun the 2017/18 campaign in frightening form for the reigning La Liga champions, and his displays earned him a call-up to the senior Spanish national side ahead of September's international matches.
In quotes published by Football Espana, Iniesta put his club allegiances to Barcelona to one side as he spoke glowingly about the 21-year-old attacking midfielder's performances so far this term, and backed him to be a staple of La Furia Roja's set up for a long time.
He said:“Asensio? The fact that he’s here speaks for itself. His performances don’t come as a surprise and that’s important for a team like Real Madrid because we followed him and knew about him already.
“It’s good news for Spanish football. I hope he’s helped and taken care of, so we can enjoy him in the national team for many years."
The 21-year-old, who is contracted to Real until June 2022, has plundered four goals in just five games so far this season for Los Blancos, and was linked with a number of Premier League giants in the early months of 2017.
Whenever I think of the best business Real Madrid has done I think of Cristiano for €93m, but then Kroos for €25m, but then Asensio for 4m.— Xav Salazar (@XavsFutbol) September 1, 2017
Away from talk of Asensio, Iniesta was naturally quizzed on Spain's 2018 World Cup qualifying clash with fellow international heavyweights Italy.
The two footballing superpowers lock horns on Saturday with the duo neck and neck on 16 points at the top of group G after six matches.
Barca veteran Iniesta insisted that his side would need all the backing it could muster from their home support against a resilient Italy team, and also offered his opinion on how vital Paris Saint-Germain ace - and reported Barcelona summer target - Marco Verratti would be to the opposition's chances of winning.
He added: “We know each other well, but every game is different. You have to be switched on for the entire game. They’re a great team.
“The stadium’s going to be full and the fans already know what’s at stake. I have no doubt about the strength that they’ll give us. When [Italy] are on top of us, the fans have to help us.
“Verratti? I don’t know how Italy will play. Verratti’s a great player to watch because he moves the ball and runs Italy’s game. Still, the game will be decided by the collective, and that starts from the one-on-ones."