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Mariano embracing role as Ronaldo’s heir & intends to remain at Real Madrid

15:38 WAT 03/06/2019
Mariano Diaz Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga 2018-19
A striker who returned to Santiago Bernabeu last summer and took the No.7 jersey has no desire to secure another switch in the summer window

Mariano Diaz claims to be embracing the pressure of inheriting Real Madrid’s No.7 jersey from Cristiano Ronaldo and has no desire to leave the club this summer.

A product of a famed academy system in the Spanish capital was returned to Santiago Bernabeu from Lyon in the summer of 2018.

He was acquired on the back of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo departing and was immediately handed the most illustrious of shirt numbers.

Mariano has struggled to prove his worth in such a prominent position, with four goals recorded from just 19 appearances.

The 25-year-old is, however, adamant that a role as Ronaldo’s heir is not weighing on his shoulders, telling Marca: “For me it's a great pride. It's a shirt that great players have worn.

“I don't feel that [pressure]. It gives me strength to keep fighting like they've all done before, like Juanito and Cristiano and everyone else.”

While determined to succeed at Real, Mariano could face even more competition next season – with the Blancos said to be keen on Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic.

“Everyone who comes in, in any position, will be welcomed,” he added.

“That'll be for the good of the squad and it'll make us all stronger.”

With that declaration in mind, Mariano is adamant that he will not be pushing for another move when the transfer window reopens.

“No, not anymore. This is my team,” he said.

“My plan is to continue here, with my team. I want to show what I came here to do. This is going to be my year.

“I fought hard to get to Real Madrid. I've worked really hard and I've always wanted this. Now I'm here so I'll do my best to play in the best team in the world.”

Mariano is just one of those who will be called upon to make a much more significant contribution in 2019-20 than he did this season if he is allowed to stay on.

Madrid ended the 2018-19 campaign with just a Club World Cup triumph to show for their efforts and with Zinedine Zidane back at the helm as their third manager of a forgettable season.

Quizzed on what happened and what can be done about it, Mariano said: “It's been a difficult season for everyone and it's always the way. The press are always there and we have to accept that.

“It's been tough because we haven't achieved our goals, but now we have to think about next year, which is the important one. We have to try to win as much as possible."

“Nobody has been up to the task, but what's better than a new year to show that we can do better?”