sport news Mariano Diaz is set to start for at Inter Milan but he is not wanted

PETE JENSON: Only 99 minutes of football this season, third-choice and not rated by Zinedine Zidane... Mariano Diaz is set to start for at Inter Milan as their striker crisis goes on but his future is almost certainly away from the Bernabeu Mariano Diaz is likely to start up front for against Inter Milan Zinedine Zidane has a striker shortage with Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic out But Zidane doesn't rate Diaz, who had transfer offers from Premier League clubs He has one goal in two appearances and has always fired when given a chance Diaz will now the lead the line in the vital Champions League game at San Siro 

By Pete Jenson for MailOnline

Published: 15:49 GMT, 25 November 2020 | Updated: 15:49 GMT, 25 November 2020

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Zinedine Zidane has a reputation for being the coach who backs his players but the support is not for everyone.

Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Sergio Reguilon are at Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham respectively because the coach deemed them surplus to requirements.

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When all three get called up for the Spain squad questions are asked of Zidane's judgement and those same questions were asked at the weekend when Mariano Diaz was 's best player. Why has Zidane ignored him for so long?

Mariano Diaz is set to be handed a rare start for Real Madrid against Inter Milan on Wednesday

Mariano Diaz is set to be handed a rare start for against Inter Milan on Wednesday

Diaz scored Real's goal in their 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Saturday with Karim Benzema injured

Diaz scored Real's goal in their 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Saturday with Karim Benzema injured

MARIANO DIAZ'S RECORD AT REAL 

Appearances: 42

Minutes played: 1,086

Goals: 11

Assists: 2

This season

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Appearances: 2

Minutes played: 99

Goals: 1

Assists:

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Why did it take an injury to Karim Benzema and a coronavirus positive for Luka Jovic to leave the manager with no choice but to play a player who had various English clubs trailing him in the last transfer window but who has never lost faith in his ability to make the grade at the Spanish champions?

Mariano will be needed on Wednesday night again in what is 's most important game of the season so far, against Inter Milan.

There is still no Benzema and still no Jovic. The 27-year-old will be out to make yet another point but such is Zidane's inflexibility in terms of changing his mind about a player it may be that Mariano is playing on Wednesday night, not for his Madrid future, but to improve his options at the end of the season or even in January when the window opens once more.

Mariano was offered around in the summer and both West Ham and West Brom showed an interest. It was his decision to stick it out despite Zidane's

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