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Real Madrid outcast emerges as a free transfer target for Italian giants – report



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have several players on their roster whose contracts expire at the end of the season. While most of them are expected to be renewed, one star whose exit seems to be sealed is Mariano Diaz.

The 29-year-old striker has struggled for relevancy since re-signing for Real Madrid from Olympique Lyon in the summer of 2018. While he had been sparingly used in the past, this season, the centre-forward has found himself completely out of favour under Carlo Ancelotti.

Indeed, in the entirety of the 2022/23 season, Mariano has played just 25 minutes of football even though Real Madrid have had to deal with Karim Benzema’s injury-enforced absence for almost half their matches this season.

While a January move has been speculated, reports in Italian publication Corriere dello Sport (h/t Mundo Deportivo) claim that Mariano is likely to see out the remainder of the season at Real Madrid before leaving as a free agent in the summer.

And, Serie A heavyweights Lazio have been touted as potential destination for the 29-year-old striker. The Italian capital outfit are on the lookout for a new striker to provide cover for star man Ciro Immobile and have seemingly narrowed in on Mariano as a possible option.

As iterated earlier, Real Madrid have no intention to renew the former Olympique Lyon striker. But given that Los Blancos do not want to sign any new players in January, they could be reluctant to let him leave in January in case of an injury emergency.

However, a summer exit looks certain and a move to Italy with Lazio could be a possibility for Mariano, who has scored 12 goals in 78 matches across his two stints for Real Madrid.

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Real Madrid News

25-year-old ‘impeccable’ star viewed as the leader of the Real Madrid defence



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

According to MARCA, Eder Militao is seen as the undisputed leader of the Real Madrid defence, thanks to his ‘impeccable’ level of performances. The 25-year-old’s standing in the team has forced a duel between David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger for the second centre-back slot.

Militao arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2019, joining from FC Porto in a deal worth €50 million. While he made a slow start to life in Spain, the Brazilian slowly grew in stature from his second season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following the exits of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Militao established himself as a permanent fixture in the backline for the Merengues and was a standout performer last season as they won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League trophy.

The 25-year-old has carried on in the same vein of form this season as well, featuring in 35 matches across all competitions for Real Madrid, even chipping in with six goals.

The Brazilian international is seen as one of the best centre-backs in the world currently, with Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti sharing that opinion.

“I may lose credibility if I say Vinicius and Militão are the best striker and defender in the world respectively but it’s the truth. I am honest. Militão lacks nothing,” he had said last month.

Militao is not only viewed as the leader of the Real Madrid defence, but has also grown into a leader within the locker room as well, with the player being loved and fully supported by his teammates.

Militao’s presence has meant that Alaba and Rudiger have had to battle it out for the lone centre-back slot. The former had enjoyed a stunning season last time out after joining from Bayern Munich in 2021, but has struggled with injuries and fitness problems this term.

As for Rudiger, the German arrived last summer from Chelsea and started out slow, but has grown in confidence and stature, especially in recent months. So much so that, his signing is already being regarded as a success within the club.

In Militao, Real Madrid undoubtedly have a long-term fixture at the heart of the defence. But with Rudiger and Alaba in their thirties, the Merengues must look to bring in one more player who can take over from them in the near future and can form a partnership with Militao.

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