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Mariano Diaz a doubt for Real Madrid’s game at Villarreal

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Real Madrid have confirmed Mariano Diaz looks set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines ahead of Thursday’s game at Villarreal

Following his return from Lyon in August, Mariano has failed to make an impact at Real with just two starts in his 10 appearances this season.

The 25-year-old was effectively brought in to replace the Juventus-bound Cristiano Ronaldo and even took the club legend’s iconic number seven jersey.

But Mariano’s first campaign back at the Santiago Bernabeu has been spoilt by two hamstring problems, which ruled him out for the first few weeks of November before spending most of December sidelined.

Now Real have confirmed Mariano has suffered a back problem this time and wouldn’t confirm his availability for their trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica.

“After the tests carried out on our player Mariano by the Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with an irritation of the sciatic nerve,” read a statement on the club website.

“His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

The league game between Villarreal and Real will begin at 21:30 (CET) on Thursday.