When one thinks of strikers at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema is the only name that comes to mind. Not only is that because of his insane goalscoring form but also because he has, for a major part of the season, been the only striker played by Carlo Ancelotti.
In theory, two players compete with the Frenchman for a starting spot in the team: Luka Jovic and Mariano. However, both in terms of form and fitness, the duo have struggled to make an impact under Ancelotti.
The latter, in fact, finds himself injured once again. Mariano played just three minutes in the game against Sevilla and is now ruled out for the clash against Osasuna, as was confirmed by the manager yesterday.
“Casemiro, Mariano, and Jovic suffered physical problems yesterday, and will not play tomorrow. They will be back for the Manchester City game,” he said.
Luka Jovic is ruled out through injury too, but he is in the final stages of his recovery. Nevertheless, Benzema is the only available striker for the manager at the moment.
Mariano has only appeared in eight games for Los Blancos, amassing a total of 228 minutes. However, he has regularly struggled with fitness, missing 18 games through injury.
He has no goals and one assist in La Liga this season. The club are looking to ship him away in the summer transfer window, but the operation is difficult considering that Mariano wants to stay and prove his worth to the manager.
Nevertheless, the Dominican Republic international will look for a way out, given that Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland could join in the summer. With his minutes already at an all-time low, an exit seems inevitable.
Real Madrid’s 29-year-old star upset with his situation, desires more clarity on role
At Real Madrid, the quest for securing a spot in the first-team lineup involves battling it out with some of the best players in European football.
Competition is generally considered the perfect antidote to complacency and the Merengues‘ immensely talented roster encapsulates that sentiment best.
While injuries have done a number on the team, there is still an abundance of competition in the squad. As of now, the fight for a spot in the starting lineup is most intense among the goalkeepers.
Indeed, since the beginning of the campaign, there has been no fixed goalkeeper with both Andriy Lunin and Kepa Arrizabalaga featuring between the sticks alternately.
However, after being acquired on a season-long loan to fill in the absence of Thibaut Courtois, Kepa is not entirely content with his situation.
Kepa unsatisfied with the unclarity
Indeed, as per The Athletic, Kepa is extremely disappointed with his situation and how the coaching staff at Real Madrid have been handling the matter.
Ancelotti has not clearly explained his reasoning as to which of Lunin and Kepa is currently his first-choice keeper.
And according to sources close to him, Kepa is unhappy and would have preferred further clarification on the matter from the manager.
Lunin in the driving seat
Owing to Lunin’s exceptional form lately, he has successfully displaced Kepa as the first-choice goalkeeper.
In fact, Kepa has not started a game since Real Madrid’s clash against Almeria last month in which they leaked two goals.
It is safe to assume Kepa’s frustrations stem from the fact that he initially arrived as the primary keeper to replace Courtois and turned down an offer from Bayern Munich to join the Madrid outfit.
As such, being shunned and having minimal clarity from the coaching staff’s preferred goalkeeper has led to dissatisfaction.
As things stand, Real Madrid have no plans of signing him permanently, given that Chelsea would ask around €20 million for him, something that the club have intentions of paying.