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Mariano didn’t need much to prove the number ‘7’ suits him

<> at Bernabeu on November 30, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

Dominican winger Mariano Diaz had been looking for the opportunity he got today for Real Madrid, he presented himself as Real Madrid’s number ‘7’ in style.

This Wednesday was the best moment when Real Madrid could make an impact in the Champions League that would leave the fans satisfied, they wanted to watch either Vinicius or Mariano Diaz play against AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu. Manager Julen Lopetegui recognized this urge to give one of both players their chance and he decided to let the Dominican winger have his opportunity, Real Madrid’s new number ‘7’ ceased it in the best possible manner and left a fantastic impression on his first official match for Real Madrid this season. There was a huge contrast between what was expected from Los Blancos and what people expected from Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance against Valencia, the Portuguese forward left the match after getting sent-off and Real Madrid got a dream first performance without his presence for the first time in nine years. The Merengues got ahead in the scoreboard through a sublime Isco free-kick during the first half, he struck the ball with such finesse, that his goal was very familiar to the one Messi scored last Tuesday. But by halftime against AS Roma, Real Madrid seemed to struggle a little bit against the Italian club and a greater impact was needed for the second half.

Then Gareth Bale made his appearance, the Welshman scored a goal that reminded everyone of two of the ones he scored during the first great Champions League match of his career when he scored that historic hat-trick against Internazionale Milano back in 2010. The ‘Cardiff Express’ received a long pass from the left that gave him a lot of space to maneuver and get himself in a perfect position to score his goal, which meant Real Madrid’s second of the night against Roma and a more relaxed final half an hour of the match. The crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu was very happy with the performance Los Blancos delivered on their opening night, but there was still something missing in this great night for Julen Lopetegui’s side and the manager was able to see this with the perfect timing he usually has to make the proper modifications. It was the 73rd minute of the match and he decided to call Mariano Diaz to make his official debut as Real Madrid’s new number ‘7’, the Dominican forward had been expecting this moment for a long time and he got on the game after taking Gareth Bale’s place on the field. The player’s impact was almost instantaneous, as he started to make several attempts to score his goal and proved he has great talent to dribble and combine with his teammates.

Mariano had an especially good connection with Brazilian left-back Marcelo, who found a new partner to play with on the left side of the field and was precisely the man who gave Mariano his first assist. It was near the end of the match when the Brazilian saw Mariano with space near the box and gave him the ball, the Dominican turned around towards the keeper and released a long-range strike that left the Bernabeu in complete silence for two seconds. Mariano had just scored a world-class screamer from outside the box, this was the dream presentation he had been waiting for since he decided to take on the number ‘7’ challenge as the great responsibility that the number carries with it. After the match, Mariano told the press that: “I’m very happy for my Champions League home debut against a semifinalist from last season. I’m very happy with my goal, I want to thank Marcelo for the assist and my teammates for their work today. I’ve always dreamed of a reception like this and I’m very grateful for it. I wasn’t nervous at all, I actually wanted to play but I wasn’t in a hurry. All I wanted was the chance from the manager, I’m here to win the Champions League and as many trophies as we can as a collective,” said Mariano to the press after the match.

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