Marco Asensio

Marco Asensio was delighted his hard work paid off as he made a stunning return from injury in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia.

Making his comeback from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Asensio scored seconds after coming on and then set up Karim Benzema’s sealer at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Thursday.

Asensio, 24, was pleased to be back, with the appearance his first competitive club outing since May last year.

“I really wanted to return. It has been many months of hard work,” the midfielder told Movistar.

“I am very happy to play, to score and for the team’s victory.”

On his goal, Asensio added: “A lot of excitement and satisfaction, because there is a lot of work behind this. I am in the final stretch of the season.”

Asensio also set up Benzema for the striker to complete his brace, the Frenchman’s first touch setting up a spectacular volleyed finish.

Spain international Asensio lauded Benzema, who became Madrid’s fifth all-time top goalscorer with 243, surpassing Ferenc Puskas (242).

“It was a great goal. He has made a great control and in general we have made a great match,” he said.

Madrid’s win saw them climb back to within two points of rivals and leaders Barcelona with nine games left to play.

“We have nine finals left that we have to win,” Asensio said.

“We are now focusing on the Real Sociedad match [on Sunday], which is the objective we have in mind.”

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