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Real Madrid Striker Inching Closer Towards A Move To Benfica: Is Zidane Making The Right Call?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Record has stated that Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz is inching closer towards a move to Benfica after the two clubs came to an agreement with regards to the player’s transfer this summer. However, the Dominican Republic international is yet to agree on personal terms with the Portuguese giants, but Jorge Jesus is eager to seal a move for him in this off-season (via Record).

Diaz’s Growing Frustrations At The Bernabeu Last Season

The 27-year-old endured an injury-plagued season at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium which saw him miss out on several matches over the past 12 months. He only made seven appearances for Los Blancos in the previous campaign, netting one goal in the process across various competitions.

Despite his frustrations last season, Diaz boasts a decent goal-scoring record for the Madrid giants as he has registered 18 goals in 46 matches for them so far. However, the Premia de Mar-born talent has struggled to make an impact as a substitute after he could only average 1.2 shots per game while distributing the ball with an accuracy of 71.4% in the 2019-20 La Liga season (stats via whoscored).

Diaz needs to secure regular first-team starts in the upcoming campaign if he wants to reignite his career in European football. Hence, a move to Portugal seems like a decent opportunity for him to make a fresh start away from the mounting expectations surrounding him at the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid's Mariano Diaz inching closer towards Benfica move (Diaz is in action in the picture)
Real Madrid’s Dominican forward Mariano Diaz (C) scores his team’s second goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 1, 2020. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

What Does The Dominican Republic International Add To Zidane’s Side?

Diaz can utilise his speed and agility when making some well-timed runs in behind the last line of the opponent’s defence. He is effective at creating space for himself and is usually a composed marksman in the attacking third. The Real Madrid outcast is also not afraid to strike the ball with power when given time and space in and around the opposition penalty area. However, he needs to stay injury-free and be more consistent if he wants to be a regular feature at the highest level.

Are The Spanish Champions Making The Right Call By Cutting Diaz Loose This Summer?

Diaz has got the skillset to serve as a decent back-up to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu next season. At 27, the promising striker has to ensure more first-team opportunities if he intends to stay relevant in European football. Hence, it is only fair to the player for Los Blancos to cut him loose so that he can join Benfica this summer.

Zinedine Zidane can also benefit from getting him off his wage bill to make room for one or two new signings in the future. At the moment, the Madrid outfit needs to make a few clever deals in the transfer market by trimming off some of the deadwood from their squad. Therefore, Diaz’s potential switch to Portugal will be a good move for both the player and the Spanish club as it will give both parties a chance to move on in search of greener pastures in the coming years.

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