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Mariano: “Next season will be mine, I want to prove myself”

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Despite rumors of Jovic and competition with Benzema, the former Lyon striker would like to stay and win a place at Madrid

Real Madrid CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s new number 7, Mariano Diaz, had an underwhelming season. He was never able to get his feet off the ground due to a constant back injury. Coupled with the constant change of coaches, Mariano’s opportunities were limited. In his 22 matches, he scored four goals. In an exclusive interview with Marca, he revealed his desire to continue at Real Madrid and fight for his place. “The next season will be mine. I want to prove what I came here to do. Signings? Competition is always good,” he affirmed.

Last summer, Mariano was days if not hours away from joining Sevilla before a phone call from Julen Lopetegui convinced him to re-join his boyhood club. He spoke about that moment, “I had interest from Sevilla, but then came Real Madrid. I called the club first and then Lopetegui convinced me to come. I already said that I can’t say no to Real Madrid, so here I am, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It felt like a homecoming”.

Mariano will not be backing down and will continue to give his all next season, despite rumors linking him with an exit. “I fought hard to get to Real Madrid. I have worked really hard and I have always wanted this. Now I’m here so I will do my best to play in the best team in the world. I really want to start the pre-season. I’m ready to put my boots on with a lot of enthusiasm”, he stated.

The interview did include questions on his decision to take the mythical number 7 shirt and his tough back injury last season. “To wear the number 7 shirt is a great pride. It’s a shirt that great players have worn. A shirt worn by Juanito, Raul, and Ronaldo — players you model yourself after,” he contested before quickly answering the next question regarding his back injury. “I had an injury that didn’t let me play at the beginning of 2019. It was difficult. I turned over my mattress and had to bring the one I had in Lyon to Madrid to sleep in it to see if I could recover”.

Mariano has described himself as a fighter, and plays with everything on the line when he gets an opportunity to step out onto the pitch. If Luka Jovic is signed, minutes may become even harder to come by, but that doesn’t scare the Dominican as he looks to truly prove himself next season.