Mariano Diaz jokes he is ‘very happy’ with Real Madrid debut

Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz has joked that he was very happy for his ‘debut’ for the club in Sunday’s El Clasico win over Barcelona.

Mariano had previously played just 44 minutes of football at all this season for Los Blancos – coming across two substitute appearances in the Spanish Supercopa earlier this month.

He came on as a substitute in added time of Sunday’s clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and grabbed the second goal of the game to wrap up the points for Zinedine Zidane’s side.

“Very happy for the debut, the three points and the goal,” Mariano wrote on his Instagram.

Previous to those matches, the Dominican-born striker had been involved in just one matchday squad for Los Blancos – the defeat at Real Mallorca earlier in the campaign – but he was an unused substitute that day.

A report in Diario Sport from November claimed the striker had been offered to Espanyol as multiple reports had linked Mariano with an exit from Madrid with Real Betis and Monaco among the clubs strongly rumoured to be interested, while El Mundo Deportivo also outlined interest from Milan.

He has been a peripheral figure across his two seasons at Madrid since his 2018 return from Lyon, which was thought to be in the region of €21.5m.

Indeed, Mariano made just three league starts in total last season – although two of those did come after Zinedine Zidane returned to the Madrid dugout in March.

Mariano scored four goals last term – in substitute appearances against Roma (in the Champions League), against Alaves in La Liga and a brace against Villarreal in April in a rare start for the club.

Mariano starred in his sole campaign at French club Lyon – whom he played for between his Madrid stints – netting 21 goals in all competitions.

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