Mariano Diaz has thanked Julen Lopetegui for giving him a second chance at Real Madrid following a swift end to the beleaguered coach's ill-fated tenure.

Lopetegui was sacked just over 24 hours after Sunday's humiliating 5-1 El Clasico loss to Barcelona. The ex-Spain boss lasted 14 matches in total, with the failure to adequately replace Cristiano Ronaldo contributing to his downfall.

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Mariano, 25, was the most senior attacker recruited in the wake of Ronaldo's departure and expressed appreciation to the man who brought him back from Lyon, where he spent a single season.


Mariano's only goal since returning to Spain came in the 3-0 win over Roma in the Champions League that will be remembered as one of precious few Lopetegui highlights. Ex-Madrid midfielder Santiago Solari has taken charge of the European champion on an interim basis.