Zidane has cold relationship with Real Madrid striker Mariano

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has a ‘cold and soulless’ relationship with striker Mariano Diaz, according to a report in Diario AS.

It is claimed that Mariano has yet to resume first-team training due to a small injury which has limited his recovery to gym work, but it is unclear if he will feature in Madrid’s plans for the rest of the campaign.

The striker had his first-team hopes raised by an injury to Luka Jovic who has ‘an extra-articular fracture in the calcaneus bone of the right foot’, and now faces a period of evaluation – with a possible three-month layoff, as per El Mundo Deportivo.

That has left Los Blancos short on attacking options with Karim Benzema the established first-choice, but with La Liga planning on several matches for clubs per week if the 2019/20 season resumes – rotation is likely to be a reality.

Dominican striker Mariano has not started a game in any competition this season – with just four fleeting substitute appearances, although he did clinch an El Clasico victory over Barcelona with a late second goal, moments after coming on.

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.

“The greatest talent I ever coached was Ronaldo but at the same time he was the player who created the most problems for me in the dressing room. He used to throw parties and do everything. Once Van Nistelrooy said to me: ‘Coach, the dressing room smells like alcohol’.” Find out who which manager said this right here.

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