While he has been limited to a bit-part role this season, Real Madrid have been handed a blow as Mariano Diaz is reportedly struggling with an injury issue.
The 26-year-old has made just four appearances so far this season, although he did make a crucial impact prior to the suspension of the campaign with a goal in the win over rivals Barcelona to suggest that he could still offer an important contribution moving forward.
Further, with the Guardian noting that there are doubts over Luka Jovic’s availability when the season restarts after he suffered an injury during lockdown, it limits Zinedine Zidane’s options up front and that could arguably have led to more opportunities for Mariano instead to help offer cover and depth behind Karim Benzema.
However, it appears as though Los Blancos have suffered another setback with AS reporting that since they returned to training 10 days ago, Mariano hasn’t yet trained with the rest of the group and has been limited to the gym as he is said to be struggling with discomfort in his foot.
It’s noted that he had been expected to emerge as the back-up option to Benzema after Jovic’s setback, but given ongoing doubts over his future at the Bernabeu and over his relationship with Zidane, it’s suggested that Marco Asensio, who is returning from his own long-term spell on the sidelines, could be preferred moving forward as a false nine.
Time will tell how the situation plays out, but it’s a disappointing development as far as Mariano is concerned if he is indeed struggling to shake off his reported knock and will in turn be lacking fitness when the season resumes, as he may well have had an opportunity to prove his worth to Zidane by offering a different option in the final third to Benzema while Jovic is out.
As for Real Madrid, if they do find themselves with limited options up front, it remains to be seen if they have enough quality and depth to continue to challenge for the La Liga title and Champions League in the coming months.