Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio has admitted he 'cannot imagine' Los Blancos talisman Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the Santiago Bernanbeu, despite rumours linking him with a high profile move away from the club.
Ronaldo joined Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 for a then world record fee of £80m and has since gone on to become the La Liga giants' all time top scorer, notching an incredible 450 goals, overtaking Raul's tally of 323.
The Portuguese forward's importance to the team has always been apparent, with Asensio declaring just how crucial Ronaldo is to Madrid amidst transfer rumours suggesting he may leave the club this summer.
“I cannot imagine playing without Cristiano,” Asensio admitted in an interview with Marca, as cited by Football Espana.
“He has been such an important player for us, he still is of course, and it seems impossible they will not go forward together.
“Are we similar players? Maybe, but I like to drop deeper and see more of the ball, whereas Cristiano is a much better finisher! But we are constantly adapting our games of course."
Since breaking into the Madrid first team, Asensio has been a incandescently bright spark for Los Blancos, going on to register 31 goal contributions in 91 appearances, all while being significantly younger than others around him.
Throughout his time at Madrid, Asensio has greatly developed his game while under the tutelage of Zinedine Zidane, with the Frenchman winning three successive Champions League trophies as well as winning the league in 2016/17.
Subsequently, it came as a surprise to all at the club when Zidane resigned, with Asensio now no longer playing under his childhood idol.
“Zidane’s exit? It shocked all of us," Asensio explained, "but my time spent with him has been really good and has benefitted my career a lot, similar to Julen Lopetegui with the national team.
"Since I was a child I've noticed him a lot and I've taken many things from him. It is also true that we are different, he is right-handed and I am left-handed, we are different when it comes to treating the ball and I have always wanted to look like him since I was little."
Ahead of the World Cup, Asensio will be preparing to come up against his Madrid teammate and Portugal captain, Ronaldo, with Spain's first Group B game coming against Fernando Santos' Seleccao das Quinas.