Four years ago, Real Madrid officially announced that they had re-signed Mariano Diaz from Olympique Lyon to bolster their squad. He was handed Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous No. 7 shirt and was thought to be the future of Los Blancos’ forward line.
Fast forward to 2022 and the player’s situation is dreadful. The club are desperately trying to sell the 29-year-old but have not seen any light at the end of the tunnel.
According to reports from MARCA, Real Madrid were even open to allowing the player to leave for free. Mariano was also inclined towards a departure, but no clubs were interested in his services despite the €0 price tag.
Now, his departure from the club seems impossible this summer and the forward will stay at Real Madrid for the coming season.
Last season, the 29-year-old centre-forward only played nine La Liga games for the club with a total game time of 350 minutes. In that duration, he scored one goal and provided one assist.
It is clear that Carlo Ancelotti does not count on the former Lyon forward as he has not seen a single minute so far this season. A departure would be the best solution for all parties involved, but that is no longer a possibility.
Mariano signed a five-year contract with Los Blancos when he returned to the club in 2018 and it ends next June when he will be a free agent.
With no club willing to sign the player, it is increasingly possible that Mariano’s story at Real Madrid ends with the expiration of his contract in 2023, meaning the club will be unable to recover any of the €23 million they spent on his arrival.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.