Real Madrid current rave of the moment Marco Asensiocontinues to hail arch rivals Barcelona despite their slump in form. He says they remain “a great team” despite the loss of Brazil international Neymar.

The talented playmaker moved to France to join PSG for a world record €222 million this summer in a surprise deal that shocked the football community.

The Catalan side are scrambling to find decent replacement and have so far only signed Neymar’s compatriot Paulinho from a Chinese Super League side.

Madrid recently saw off Barca 5-1 over two legs in the Spanish Super Cup. The Copa del Rey champs clashed with the La Liga champs and Madrid showed their current top form. The recent performances hint that Barcelona are beginning to crumble but Asensio thinks otherwise.

“To doubt Barcelona’s strength is not to know about football. It’s the same team that beat us 3-2 not too long ago at the Bernabeu and in the final fight for the league title. Barcelona is a great team, one of the greats,” Asensio opined.

The player netted in both legs of the Super Copa, more achievements following his goals in all his debut tournaments. The 21-year old almost joined Barcelona but the club thought his fees were too much before Real swooped in.

Asensio also paid tribute to his manager Zinedine Zidane, who has been prolific in the role since taking over the helms at the Santiago Bernabeu. Asensio says he has “always wanted to be like Zidane” and that he is not saying this because he is his manager.

“What a player [Zidane]. I also enjoyed watching Michael Laudrup but Zidane was a true genius,” he added.

Real are the favourites to retain the La Liga title they won last season but surely Barcelona would give them a fight for it.