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How tennis legend Rafa Nadal made Marco Asensio's signing for Real Madrid happen

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Nadal at work.

Real Madrid v AFC Ajax - UEFA Champions League Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Marco Asensio wasn't a popular player when Real Madrid completed his signing more than a year ago. Sure, the midfielder was one of Spain's most interesting prospects and clubs like FC Barcelona were scouting his talents, but tennis legend and known Real Madrid fan Rafa Nadal played a key part in Asensio's signing with Los Blancos.

"Presi, you must sign this kid," said Nadal during one phone call with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, according to a report from La Sexta.

Later on, right after Madrid confirmed the deal, Mallorca's own football director and former Barcelona defender Miguel Ángel Nadal — who happens to be Rafa's uncle — confirmed that the tennis legend was active while both clubs were negotiating.

"The contacts I had with Real Madrid happened through my nephew Rafa," told Miguel Nadal.

Asensio is now a promising player for Madrid. "He's the greatest talent in Spanish football," explained former Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.

The midfielder is set to stay with Real Madrid after spending last season on a loan deal with Espanyol. He scored Madrid's opening goal against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup Final and will compete with stars like James Rodríguez and Isco for a spot in the starting XI.

Real Madrid spent only €3.5 million for Asensio, and yet he might be Real's next galáctico.