Real Madrid attacker Mariano Diaz is desperate to play for Spain and switch his international allegiance from Dominican Republic.
Mariano, who returned to Madrid in August following a year at Lyon, has only one international cap to his name for Dominican Republic, whom he qualifies for through his mother.
That appearance, a 3-1 win over Haiti in which he scored, was a friendly back in March 2013, meaning his international future is uncertain because he has not featured in a competitive match.
The 25-year-old Barcelona-born forward is yet to play for Madrid this term and failed to score in his three Ligue 1 appearances prior to the transfer, therefore a snub by Luis Enrique for Spain’s recent games against England and Croatia was not a shock.
But Mariano now has his sights on breaking into Spain’s squad, with Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno among those ahead of him in the pecking order.
3 – Players born in Spain with the most goals last season (top five leagues – all comps):
1 – Iago Aspas: 23
2 – MARIANO DÍAZ: 21
3 – Aritz Aduriz: 20
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 28 August 2018
When asked by Cope’s Partidazo if he saw Spain in Nations League action, Mariano said: “Yes, I did see it and of course I dream of Luis Enrique’s call.”
Upon his return to Madrid, Mariano took the number seven jersey vacated by Cristiano Ronaldo.
While Mariano is relishing the challenge of taking such an historic jersey, he insists he is not scared of the pressure that comes with it.
“Well, many people have told me [I am brave for taking the shirt], other people have also told me bad things,” he said.
“It’s a pressure to carry that number, but others have told me that I should not have chosen it. I’ve had everything [said to me].
“It was a number that was free and to me it is a number that I like. It’s a personal challenge and I’m happy to wear the number that has been worn by many stars, like Amancio [Amaro], Juanito, [Emilio] Butragueno, Raul, and Cristiano, of course.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve seen them play and I’m happy.”
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