The Hard Tackle brings you the day’s round-up off all the news regarding La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Mariano Diaz insists he wants to stay at Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s Dominican attacker Mariano Diaz has insisted that he will stay on at the club at least till the end of the season and fight for a place in Zinedine Zidane’s side. His comments come at the back of interest from Sevilla over a loan-deal for the player.

The youngster finally broke through into the first team this season and he believes that he has what it takes to challenge the best of the lot at the club. Mariano impressed at the youth level last campaign and earned himself a contract extension keeping him at the club till 2020. Hence the 23-year-old is in no mood of cutting short his stay with a loan move elsewhere.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30: Mariano Diaz Mejia of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring Real's 3rd goal during the Copa del Rey last of 32 match between Real Madrid and Cultural Leonesa at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 30, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 30: Mariano Diaz Mejia of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring Real’s 3rd goal during the Copa del Rey last of 32 match between Real Madrid and Cultural Leonesa at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 30, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

There is heavy competition for the striker’s position, particularly following the arrival, in the summer, of Alvaro Morata from Juventus, while Karim Benzema is an untouchable starter.

At the same time though, despite making just five total appearances this season, Mariano has impressed when called upon, scoring five times including a first Real hat-trick in the Copa Del Rey against Cultural Leonesa.

His quality in front of goal has never been in doubt, given that he is a man who scored 27 times in his final year with Real Madrid Castilla. He has gone and demonstrated the same at the highest level in the La Liga this year with a vital goal against Deportivo among his more notable strikes for Los Blancos.

It is no surprise then that a player with a record of a goal every 31 minutes would attract a great deal of interest from suitors around Spain. Espanyol, Valencia, Sporting Gijon, Sevilla and Leganes have all expressed an interest in the Barcelona-born forward.

James Rodriguez will not leave in January, says Jorge Mendes

Ever since news of James Rodriguez visiting the British Embassy in Colombia to attain a work visa has surfaced, there have been numerous rumours linking him with a Premier League move in January. The Colombian has fallen down the pecking order in Real Madrid’s line-up and with an array of talented youth gracing a squad already overflowing with star quality, Rodriguez is looking to continue elsewhere.

However, his agent Jorge Mendes has told AS that the midfielder will not be leaving in January potentially putting an end to all rumours linking him with a move to clubs of the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. The midfielder has vowed to turn things around under Zidane after expressing his disappointment at the lack of playing time following Real Madrid’s Club World Cup success.

Real Madrid's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match RCD Espanyol vs Real Madrid CF at the Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on September 18, 2016. / AFP / PAU BARRENA (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match RCD Espanyol vs Real Madrid CF at the Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on September 18, 2016. / AFP / PAU BARRENA (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

The midfielder was quoted as saying,”I’m happy here, but I want to play more. I want to stay at Madrid forever, but you have to think about everything and look at your options. I have offers and I’ve got seven days to think about it.”

James is the 20th most-used player in the squad of 24 and has played just 859 minutes this season. Since Zidane’s arrival in the dugout little over a year ago, James has played 2,091 minutes, just 43.3 percent of the total available. It therefore remains to be seen whether the player’s long-term future remains at the Spanish capital. As it stands, the player isn’t an indispensable asset by any means and Rodriguez will have to go some way into changing that.

Marcos Llorente dreams of Los Blancos future

Real Madrid academy product Marcos Llorente who is currently on-loan at Deportivo Alaves has clearly established his long-term desire to succeed at this parent club. The midfielder has done well at Alaves this season earning 14 starts and proving to be a revelation in centre-midfield.

Some solid performances at the highest level has attracted the interest of Arsenal who were reportedly looking to lure the Spaniard to the Premier League. “My dream is clear – it always has been – and that is to succeed at Real Madrid,” Llorente told UEFA’s official website.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 10: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Marcos Llorente of Deportivo Alaves during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou stadium on September 10, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 10: Among Llorente’s finer moments during his stay at Alaves will be a shock victory over FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou considering his association with Real Madrid. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

“It’s a very difficult dream but it was difficult to get to this point; it is not something that I think about every day, it’s something that is there and that’s what I work for every day.”

Before the season began, Llorente had a conversation with Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane and they came to a mutual agreement that a loan spell would benefit the Madrid-born midfielder.

He said,”I had a conversation with him [Zidane] and we both decided that it was best to go and search for some minutes elsewhere. He [Zidane] said that he understood and that he would do the same [if in Llorente’s situation], and I want to play the most amount of minutes possible in order to reach the next level.”

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