Taking advantage of the international break at Valdebebas, Mariano is doing what he always does: training like an animal, according to those who see him up close.
He knows that his moment will come.
The Catalan forward dreams of being part of the Real Madrid XI in the first two matches after the break, against Levante at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (October 20) and Viktoria Plzen ( Oct 23).
Two games in which Julen Lopetegui can’t count on Karim Benzema, who is expected back for the Clasico (28 Oc).
Without the French striker in the XI, the door opens for Mariano, who still hasn’t been a starter in this, his second stage at Real.
He’s played five matches, but in all cases coming from the bench.
A goal on his debut against Roma after just 17 minutes was a great start, but since then, he hasn’t scored against either Espanyol, Sevilla, Alaves or CSKA.
In total, he’s played 151 minutes this season for Los Blancos, to which must be added the 145 he played in Ligue 1 before his transfer back to the Spanish capital.
Apart from Benzema‘s injury, there is another factor that allows Mariano to believe he will have minutes in the next games, and probably as a starter.
That is the physical state of Gareth Bale, because the Welshman doesn’t seem in the best condition to compete.
Despite a lack of goals thus far, Mariano wants the opportunity to reverse the situation.
With the team in full crisis mode, the attacker awaits his moment.
From the beginning he knew that this adventure in Madrid wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, that he would have to work hard for every minute.
But, from the first moment, he was willing to take on the challenge.
He knows that BBA are the preferred option, but it gives him the motivation to ensure Lopetegui has a headache when it comes to selection.
Mariano also has the support of a squad that adore him because of his spirit.
Time for a player who doesn’t want to play a residual role in Madrid.
Quite the opposite.