Mariano's first Real Madrid start in 566 days, scores after two minutes

He hasn't started since 2019 and hasn't scored since coming off the bench vs. Barça in March

Mariano, de nuevo titular con el Madrid más de un año después
Mariano, de nuevo titular con el Madrid más de un año después | EFE

Only 17 first team players were available for Real Madrid's trip to Villarreal this weekend, although Zinedine Zidane was able to put together a 20-man squad with the inclusion of three B team players. 

With big names like Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Karim Benzema missing, it meant chances for some of Madrid's lesser-used players, including Catalan striker Mariano Diaz. 

Mariano has hardly featured under Zidane but against Villarreal on Saturday was handed his first start for Madrid in 566 days. 

And he took just two minutes to make his mark, opening the scoring to show Zidane what he's been missing out on. Although the goal arrived in controversial circumstances, with the linesman raising his flag against Lucas Vazquez and then putting it down again before Mariano headed in. 

VAR decided that Lucas was not interfering with play and the goal stood. 

Mariano's last start for Madrid was on May 9, 2019, incidentally against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu. He also scored that day, twice in fact, as Madrid won 3-2. 

His last goal for Madrid, meanwhile, was in March, when he scored as a substitute in the Clasico win against Barcelona. 

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