28 days without winning. Three defeats and one draw in the last four games. No goal in that period. The Real Madrid Julen Lopetegui returns to the competition with the worst record in Chamartín of the last decade. The situation is limit and Barcelona waits in seven days. The foreseeable thing is that the preparer retains the position in the Camp Nou. The road to next Sunday is apparently simple. A visit from Levante (13.00 hours, beIN LaLiga), eleventh classified, and an exit to Pilsen to face the Czech Viktoria, one of the teams with less pedigree of the Champions. The two parties are understood in Valdebebas as the perfect ramp to gain momentum and sensations before the final judgment before the eternal rival. The figure and incidence of Mariano Díaz, the striker hired by Madrid as a replacement for Benzema, will be decisive for the script of Lopetegui not to suffer alterations.
The physical problems of Bale and Benzema, open the doors of ownership for Mariano for the first time since his return to Madrid at the end of August. The responsibility is capital. Madrid are at their worst scoring moment since the 84/85 season, when they accumulated five games without doing anything. The Lopetegui team has four. Since the last goal, by Marco Asensio against Espanyol on September 22, six hours and 49 minutes of play have passed. Mariano has been present in 106 of them and, for the moment, has not been able to cut the streak either. The expectations with the player, of 25 years, are as high as the challenge he faces.
His closest environment ensures that the scorer is aware of the situation in which he is. Mariano, who has played 299 minutes and records only the goal of his debut against Roma, remains patient. His people deny that he is disappointed by the limited opportunities that Lopetegui has given him. "He knows where he is and also that he does not have the role of canterano he had in his first year with Zidane, now the weight and responsibility are much greater", they count, and they insist on affirming that they are prepared and that they will not miss the opportunity. "He had bad luck in the Moscow club and in the play with so many cuts in Vitoria, if they come in, the thing would be different, but the a is going to have", they add.
Differences with Benzema
By conditions, Mariano is the attacking player of the current staff of Madrid who benefits most from the resource most used by the Lopetegui team: the lateral centers. The action of nodding or taking advantage of a shipment from the sides is the action of the game that you like the most. "It's the play that I like the most and in which I feel most comfortable," the striker said in an interview. with this newspaper a year ago. Contrary to what happens to Benzema, the poverty of imagination in the attack does not condition his chances of success. The opposite happens to him and, for that reason, he counts his circle, he is compatible with the French.
Mariano is the most rudimentary tip type, capable of increasing his production in the most rustic and primary game sets. He does not suffer fixing and fajándose with the rival centers, is positioned correctly in the area and does not require a continuous contact with the ball or a fluid and elaborate play to generate a goal opportunity. He has an outstanding shot, finishes off with both legs, heads with precision and lives of smell. In addition, he is skillful in the unmarking. Powerful and fast, the second situation in which he most enjoys is attacking the spaces, a concept in which Lopetegui does not stop insisting without success to his titular trident.
This Saturday, the circumstances could place in that trio to Mariano, an area forward whose first challenge as a player of weight in Madrid is none other than to cut the worst scoring run of the club in more than 20 years.
After the international break, Julen Lopetegui has recovered three of his most important men ahead of the match against Levante: Isco, Benzema and Gareth Bale. The Spaniard returns after the operation of appendicitis to which he submitted at the end of September, while the two attackers have finally entered the call after overcoming different muscular problems. Dani Carvajal has not recovered in time for a match in which the Basque coach has also quoted Vinicius Júnior,