I was given Cristiano Ronaldo's No7 shirt and made £38m in career earnings… now I'm unemployed at 30 | The Sun

FORMER Real Madrid star Mariano Diaz once had the world at his feet.

However, now at the age of 30, Mariano finds himself navigating the football wilderness after becoming a free agent.

The Spanish born-Dominican Republic star has seen himself pushed to the side after Carlo Ancelotti added Jude Bellingham, Brahim Diaz, Fran Garcia and Joselu to the Real Madrid squad.

Mariano began his career at youth level with Espanyol, before eventually winding up in Madrid's academy in 2011.

He was handed his senior debut in 2016 by Zinedine Zidane after five years traversing Los Blancos' youth set up.

Mariano made 14 appearances that season, scoring five goals in all competitions.


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His rise brought admirers, however, and he was sold to Lyon in 2017 for a reported fee of £6.9million.

The deal contained a 35 per cent sell-on clause, and just one year later – having scored 21 goals in 48 games for the French outfit – Real Madrid re-signed him for £20m.

He was even handed the coveted No7 shirt at the club following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Unfortunately, the weight of the number seemed to impact his game and Mariano was instead handed the 24 in the following season, which stayed with him for the remainder of his time at the Bernabeu.

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Mariano would net just 12 times in 86 games for Madrid over the five years of his second spell at the club.

Since kickstarting his playing career he has earned a cool £38m.

However, Mariano now finds himself unemployed.

Upon leaving Madrid, he wrote on Instagram: "I didn't enjoy the minutes I would have liked, but I tried to put my soul into every ball, smash my face for this team.

"I know some of my decisions were misunderstood. Surely someday I'll be able to explain myself, but not now, now is the time to look forward.

"I want to start a new phase, with all the ambition in the world.

"It has been an honour to play with these fellows and for this fan. I will be eternally grateful to everyone: workers, staff, physicists, utensils, doctors, cleanliness, security. To all.

"I fulfilled a dream and I didn't give up. That 10-year-old Mariano would be so proud of today."

According to Mundo Deportivo, Mariano is looking to receive a similar wage to his Madrid earnings at his club next, which stood at £3m-per-year.

Thus far no interested parties have been prepared to match these demands, leaving him in search of his next club.

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This leaves him in the same boat as Eden Hazard – who had a similarly disappointing time at Madrid – after the ex-Chelsea ace was also released by the Spanish club.

Hazard was linked with a move to join Lionel Messi in the MLS, but turned down the opportunity.

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