Marco Asensio hopes to recover in time for Real Madrid's next match on Sunday. Photo: Juanjo Martin/EPA

MADRID – Real Madrid’s rising star Marco Asensio missed Wednesday night’s Champions League opener due to an infection caused by… shaving his legs!

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane told reporters that the 21-year-old would not feature against APOEL Nicosia because of a pimple which prevented him from pulling his sock up.

Asensio has been in fine form for Real and Spain so far this season, but had to sit out last night’s victory at the Santiago Bernabeu due to the infected spot.

He is now aiming to have recovered for the match against Real Sociedad in La Liga on Sunday.

The Spanish giants are looking for a third straight Champions League title this season, which would be a record-extending 13th in total.

It is not the first time that footballers have been sidelined due to bizarre injuries.

Dave Beasant dropped a bottle of salad cream on his foot while at Chelsea in 1993, severing the tendon in his big toe and ruling him out for eight weeks.

Ex-England striker Darius Vassell once drilled through his toe nail with a power drill, thinking it would relieve the pressure on a swollen toe when at Aston Villa.

The attempt at DIY surgery succeeded only in giving the toe an infection, which required medical attention.

Another ex-Villa man, Alan Wright, sprained his knee reaching for the accelerator in his Ferrari in 1996.

WHY DO SPORTSMEN SHAVE THEIR LEGS?

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown

I never shaved my legs. The only time I had to was for a knee operation – and I thought it looked odd.

Some of the players at Arsenal shaved their ankles to prevent hairs catching with their strapping. My former Arsenal teammate Lee Dixon has said he was a leg-shaver... but he is so fair-haired that you would not have noticed.

I cannot believe Marco Asensio missed last night’s Champions League match for Real Madrid with a shaving injury.

Whatever next? A player pulling out with a broken finger nail?

Former England and Liverpool footballer Jamie Redknapp

Players have so many massages, they will tell you they shave their legs to take away the pain of the pull on your hairs.

I’m not convinced. It is painful, but I reckon it is for vanity, or to show off muscle definition. If it’s good enough for Ronaldo, it’s good enough for the rest.

I did used to shave my ankles later on in my career. I had so many ankle injuries I used to tape up the area, and pulling tape away from areas with hair is no fun.

As for Martin Keown saying he didn’t shave his legs, is anyone surprised? It would have taken him months to get all the hair off.

Daily Mail chief sports reporter Matt Lawton

Cyclists shave their legs for three main reasons. For a professional road cyclist and an Olympic track star, the risk of coming off is high, and the treatment of ‘road rash’ and other nasty wounds is much easier, and less painful, if the legs are hair-free.

The professionals also find massages much more comfortable and, according to the British Cycling website, shaving legs prior to a rub down reduces the risk of the kind of follicular infection Asensio appears to have suffered.

But the same British Cycling website also highlights the aerodynamic benefits of smooth thighs and calves. Wind-tunnel testing has suggested up to a 70-second gain in a 40km time trial, with a further 11 seconds, er, shaved off if the arms are hair-free too.

Vanity is another reason, and it is true that even amateurs – middle-aged men in Lycra in particular – like the fact that shaved, muscular legs identify them as cyclists.