Neymar would “fit in really well” at Real Madrid, according to Mariano, while Cristiano Ronaldo has been backed to rediscover his form.
As the reigning La Liga champions continue to struggle in 2017-18, attention has already started to drift towards the summer.
A serious refresh is expected at Santiago Bernabeu, with the club famed for their ‘Galactico’ transfer policy expected to be in the market for more talent which fits that mould.
Former Barcelona forward Neymar could make their list of targets, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s reluctance to part with a player they acquired for €222 million in 2017.
Mariano, who left Madrid for Lyon last summer, believes such a move would make sense, telling AS: “I’ve already said that he’s a brilliant player, and he’d fit in really well there.”
The 24-year-old striker also spoke on Neymar’s PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe, who has also been linked with a big-money move to Spain: “Another excellent player, and he’s demonstrating that. He’s doing magnificent things in his first year at PSG. He’s still very young and he’s got a lot of ambition.”
If either were to make a switch to the Spanish capital, then they could be paired with Ronaldo in a star-studded attacking unit.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has seen his standards dip in domestic competition this season, but he has continued to shine in Europe and is being tipped to reignite before too long.
Mariano added on his former colleague: “Cristiano is Cristiano. Right now people are talking about him a lot, about how he’s not at his best, but if he scores two goals against PSG he’ll be Cristiano again. You can’t say much more about that footballer.”
Karim Benzema has also faced uncomfortable questions this season, having wobbled alongside Ronaldo.
On the French forward, Mariano said: “I think he’s doing the same things as always, but what is happening is that the team is going through a bad patch. He’s playing and linking up well, I always say that. Benzema is a magnificent striker.”
If Mariano continues to impress in France, then he could become another target for Real at some stage.
He has managed 16 goals in 29 appearances for Lyon, but maintains that his full focus remains locked on events in France and not a possible return to his homeland.
“No, there isn’t a clause,” Mariano said on talk of a second stint with Real.
“I know that Madrid have a percentage of the rights, but I’m absolutely Lyon’s player.”