Real Madrid: new opportunity for Jovic but not for Mariano
Carlo Ancelotti believes he can get the best out of the Serbian striker but the coach has told Mariano he will get few chances to play this season.
Carlo Ancelotti is clear about who will be his alternative in attack when Benzema needs a rest this season - Luka Jovic. After spending the whole pre-season working with Jovic and Mariano, the Italian believes that the Serbian striker can bring something to the side. He's decided it is worth making an effort to try and convert the player back into the killer striker he was at Eintracht Frankfurt. Jovic scored 27 goals during the season before he joined Madrid for 60 million euros.
It was a gamble that didn't pay off during his first two seasons in Spain for a number of reasons - the lack of playing time under Zidane, the player's own problems to adapt along with a number of incidents off the field of play - particularly during the pandemic (he breached lockdown restrictions by flying out to Belgrade to celebrate his birthday, suffered a foot injury jumping over a wall, invited his friends around for a barbecue without wearing masks and ignoring social distancing restrictions...). During his time in Madrid, he has scored just two goals and given out a couple of assists, figures that are just not good enough. His market value, according to Transfermarkt has dropped two third, from 60 million to 20. But Diario AS understands that Ancelotti is convinced he has extract the very best from Jovic and return him to the player he was before. The coach has told the player as much in an attempt to build his confidence, which was shattered during the Zidane era.
Few opportunities for Mariano
In contrast, Carletto has told Mariano that it is going to be very difficult for him to get any playing time this season and it might be better for him to accept one of the offers he has received from other clubs before the transfer window closes. However, Mariano is determined to see out his contract at Madrid, as he maintained in previous seasons when Zizou was in charge. The Hispanic-Dominican player, who scored just one goal in the whole of last season (against Villarreal), would rather stay at Real Madrid even knowing that he won't get to play. He has two years to run on his contract, and earns five million euros per season after tax - a generous salary which none of the clubs interested in taking him can meet. It means that this season we are going to see more of Jovic (Benzema, who turns 34 in December, is back with the France squad and will need more rest over course of the campaign), while Mariano will remain as part of the squad but very much on the fringes and with few if any chances of getting a game. Ancelotti has decided - Jovic, yes; Mariano, no.