Real's Mariano, Spain's most lethal marksman in 2016-17
The Real Madrid forward is worth a goal every 31 minutes of action this season, having scored five in 157 minutes on the pitch for his club.
Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or 2016
Real Madrid striker Mariano Díaz has had quite an impact this season despite playing less than two full games in total for his club.
The Dominican forward was promoted to the first team by Zinedine Zidane at the end of last season after a prolific campaign at Castilla, during which he bagged 27 goals in 32 games. This season with the senior side, Mariano has hit the target five times – four in the Copa del Rey and one in La Liga against Depor last weekend – in just 157 minutes on the pitch, a rate of a goal every 31 minutes.
However, the 23-year-old’s approach is always the same, whether he is playing four minutes in Camp Nou, 18 against Depor, 13 against Celta or the full 90 against Cultural in the Copa: he has an instinct for goal and boundless energy to exploit opposition defences.
Mariano’s strike rate is phenomenal. He has exceeded a who’s who of Europe’s top strikers this season: Leo Messi (a goal every 71 minutes); Edinson Cavani (80’), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (81’), Edin Dzeko (81’), Álvaro Morata (102’), Robert Lewandowski (107’), Iago Aspas (115’), Cristiano Ronaldo (123’), Luis Suárez (125’) and Karim Benzema (139’).
Of Real’s first-team squad, only Fabio Coentrão (who has been injured for most of the season to date) and third-choice keeper Rubén Yañéz have played less.
“We know what he can give us,” said Zidane recently. The Real boss is eager for his striker to turn down any loan offers that come in January, and on this evidence there will be no shortage of suitors.
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