Real Madrid: Mariano to undergo operation on broken nose
The forward fell awkwardly on his face during the Elche game. He had to have his nose put back in place but will require surgery to repair it.
Mariano was given his first minutes of the season against Elche on Saturday but he didn't have the best of luck in his return to the side. The striker was injured in the last move of the game while challenging for a ball with an opponent. He was sent flying into the air, landing flat on his face and suffering a fractured nose which had to be put back into place in the dressing room. The player revealed on social media that he will undergo surgery to have his nose repaired. "I couldn't be happier with my first game of the season and for the win, but unfortunately, after a bad fall, I suffered a broken nose and I will need an operation. I'll be out for a few days; I can't wait to get back with my team mates," he wrote on Instagram.
It was a surprise to see Mariano's name in the starting line-up against Elche. With Benzema resting, many thought that Ancelotti would start with Luka Jovic, his second choice striker. But Mariano got the nod and was handed his first run-out since May. Last season he totalled just 680 minutes of playing time and was given seven starts - mainly after Jovic left to spend the second half of the season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt. In 2019-20, he didn't even reach 90 minutes of playing time over the whole season. But Ancelotti decided to make changes to his attack after the goalless draw with Osasuna mid-week.
In spite of his lack of activity, Mariano enjoyed a decent return to action. His backheel flick to Vinicius set up the opening goal of the game and moments later he fired into the side netting. In total, he made 17 passes, 12 of which reached their destination, won four out of six challenges for the ball and won the ball back twice. He didn't get on the scoresheet but did have a couple of decent chances during the game before suffering a facial injury right at the end.
Ancelotti praise for Mariano
Ancelotti was happy with Mariano's contribution, telling reporters afterwards: "Mariano played really well, especially in the move that led to the first goal. He did well, he showed determination, gave a fantastic assist, had three or four chances, he created a lot of danger... It was a good game for him".
Mariano meanwhile, knows that the chance of him dislodging Benzema, who is on 11 goals already this season, is practically impossible. Ancelotti concluded, "I think that's how a player should be. If they are not playing, they have to be patient and wait and when their moment arrives, do the job well. Today, Mariano did very well. I hope he continues that way. His role in the team isn't going to change, that's quite clear. Ahead of him we have Benzema and then players like Jovic. Mariano can fill Karim's position when he is unable to play".