The renewal of Karim Benzema’s contract at Real Madrid in June, as AS reported on Friday, could put brakes on the impact of fellow forwards Alváro Morata and Mariano at the club.
Morata’s current deal, which he only signed last summer, runs until 2022, while the Dominican striker’s is up in 2021; times around which Benzema’s likely extension will also reach.
With this new deal, speculation surrounding an exit for the Frenchman this summer will now be brought to an end, which – given Zidane’s preferences – would not be good news for the squad’s other two centre-forwards.
Fans-favourite Morata, 23, has played 581 minutes less than Benzema, despite having put in more regular performances than Zidane’s first-choice number nine this season. What’s more, the canterano has scored ten goals in 1,175 minutes during the 2016/17 campaign (an average of one every 117.5 minutes), compared to Benzema’s ratio of one goal per 146.3 minutes (12 in total).
However, Morata’s better form hasn’t resulted in greater opportunity: he’s made just two starts in eight games since the turn of the new year. As well as hindering the chance to get into any kind of rhythm, Morata’s bit-part role will also be causing him concern over his odds of nailing down a starting spot in Lopetegui’s Spain side. Reports recently have even linked the academy product with moves back to Juventus, or to the Premier League with Chelsea.
Interest in Mariano
For his part, Mariano is enjoying his introductory season in the Los Blancos first team. While minutes have been hard to come, the 20-year old has the best average of the three strikers in terms of goals: one goal every 44 minutes.
He’s also attracting a lot of interest. According to You First, the agency that represents him, "more than 20 teams showed their enthusiasm" for signing Mariano in the past two transfer windows. Mariano decided to stay in Madrid and continue waiting for his opportunity. However, Benzema’s new deal will surely make the youngster the favourite to leave.