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Mariano Diaz handed the historic no 7 shirt

Mariano Diaz has been handed the historic number 7 shirt by Real Madrid, a huge gesture of their faith in the young striker on his return to the Bernabeu.

Mariano Diaz handed the historic no 7 shirt

The 25-year-old forward re-signed for Madrid this week after the club activated a buyback clause inserted into the deal that saw him join Olympique Lyonnais in 2017.

Mariano moved to Lyon for €8m (£6m) but returned to the Spanish capital in a €23m (£18.6m) transfer after Julen Lopetegui asked for more depth at the striker position.

 Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had been expected to go all-out for a Galactico signing this summer after selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. 

New Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui asked for extra ammunition up front .

But deals for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar proved impossible to do and Antoine Griezmann chose to remain with Atletico.

The club signed Brazilian starlet Vinicius Junior from Flamengo but the youngster has not appeared fully ready for the rigours of a 60-game first-team season and so Lopetegui asked for extra back-up to first-choice forward pairing Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

 Mariano, who was born in Spain but has played for the Dominican Republic internationally, scored 18 goals in 30 Ligue 1 starts last season.

He had previously played for Real Madrid's 'C' and 'B' teams before making eight senior appearances, a tally he is set to add to as soon as this weekend when Madrid host Leganes.

 And when he does so he will be wearing the number 7 shirt that was worn by club legends Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Gonzalez and Emilio ButragueƱo.

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