Real Madrid: 5 players who must shine against Deportivo Alaves

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz
Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /

ST Mariano Diaz

Mariano Diaz needed just under two minutes to score at the Estadio de la Ceramica, but then he went ahead and did absolutely nothing on Wednesday night against Inter Milan. He worked hard as per usual, but his movement and technical quality were lacking.

Real Madrid most likely won’t have Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic available vs. Alaves, so Mariano is the only option at striker. Well, besides Zinedine Zidane going with Rodrygo as the No. 9, but I already highlighted Rodrygo earlier. Plus, I don’t think Zidane is going to roll the dice on Rodrygo as the No. 9.

Madridistas appreciate and respect Mariano. He works hard, he can find the back of the net, and he would probably score 20 goals in a season again at a low-level Champions League side.

But at Real Madrid, he is questionable. Mariano isn’t consistent enough over a full 90 minutes to be a starting striker for Los Blancos. He only needs seconds to score, but then he can go cold for the entire rest of the game. A striker at Real Madrid needs to be more well-rounded and ever-present, and Mariano just doesn’t have the chance-creation either.

He is not a bad player, though, and he can come up with the goods at just the right moment. If he starts vs. Alaves, here’s to hoping he can deliver again.