REAL MADRID

Mariano to the rescue for Real Madrid

Real Madrid travel to face Villarreal without Benzema or Jovic, with Zidane looking to call upon the striker who has only played 98 minutes of league action in the past 18 months.

Real Madrid will look to Mariano today as a striking option for the game away to Villarreal (16:15 CET kick-off) as Zidane looks to bounce back after the 4-1 defeat away to Valencia.The French coach is without Jovic and Karim Benzema with their absence opening a door of possibility for Mariano Díaz.

Friday came with yet more bad news for Real Madrid as it was confirmed that Serbian international Jovic had tested positive for covid-19 during his time with his national side and with Benzema still troubled by the muscular problems sustained in the last LaLiga game, the spotlight falls on Mariano to lead the line at the Estadio de la Ceramica today.

Everything points to Mariano playing as centre forward with Hazard and Asensio on the flanks with the 27-year-old offered a chance to prove himself despite having just played 98 minutes of first team football, in the past 18 months.

Mariano, en un entrenamiento del Real Madrid.

Prolific with Lyon

The striker showed his capabilities in his spell with Ligue 1 outfit Olympique Lyon where he found the target 18 times in 37 games for the French side. He was destined for a move to Sevilla when Real Madrid made an eleventh hour to bring him back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zidane's return to the club and the acquisition of Jovic during the summer of 2019 have seen Mariano condemned to the bench.