“Barcelona wanted to sign Mariano last year"

The man who discovered Mariano at CD Premià, Enrique Pimpinela, has revealed that Barcelona had their eyes on the Real Madrid sriker before Zidane offered him a pro contract.

Mariano junto a su descubridor, Enrique Pimpinela. Barcelona-Real Madrid

Barcelona - Real Madrid Live

Barcelona were interested in signing Mariano from Real Madrid last season, according to the man who discovered the Spanish-Dominican striker, Enrique Pimpinela.

CD Premià

Pimpinela, a youth coach for 32 years at Catalan side CD Premià and the man responsible for Mariano joining the club as a young teenager, has said in an interview with AS that prior to Zinedine Zidane taking over Los Blancos in January, Barça had their eyes on the RM Castilla talent.

Mariano Díaz

It was only when the Frenchman became head coach following the departure of Rafa Benitez, says Pimpinela – who remains close to Mariano’s family –, that the 22-year old sured up his future at Madrid by agreeing a contract extension.

Deal warded off Barça 

“Barça were interested last season,” he said. “Robert Fernández (Barça’s sporting director) wanted to bring him to Barça B before he renewed with Madrid. But Zidane came in and they gave him a professional contract.”

Despite that deal, and the fact that Zidane decided to keep Mariano as part of his first-team plans for this season, it is no secret that the striker could leave the club on loan in January in order to get more minutes.

This is something that Pimpinela says he’s “always said” should happen for the player’s progression.

Spain or Dominican Rep? 

When asked about his thoughts on whether Marino will choose Spain or the Dominican Republic (he qualifies for the Caribbean island through his mother and has already represented the country in a friendly), Pimpinela says there is no doubt in his mind which way he will go.

“His dream is to play for Spain,” he said. “He’s hoping Lopetegui will call him. He’s Spanish. He was born and raised here, his dad and grandfather are from here.

“He played in the Dominican friendly because it was an aspiration he had when he was young. But in his head he’s waiting for La Roja.”