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Real Madrid's Mariano Diaz feels 'enormous responsibility' of No. 7 shirt

With a goal for Real Madrid in every competitive game, the FC crew examine what's led to Gareth Bale's sublime start to the season.

Mariano Diaz said he was honoured to be handed the No. 7 shirt by Real Madrid upon his return and hopes he will continue to play well enough to earn a call-up by Spain.

Mariano, 25, returned to Madrid in late August after one season at Lyon and he was given the shirt most recently worn by Cristiano Ronaldo, who left for Juventus earlier in the summer.

He scored in added time in his first game back at Madrid, a 3-0 win over Roma in the Champions League group-stage opener on Wednesday.

"I couldn't wait," Mariano told Madrid's website. "I try to work hard every day to repay the support the fans have shown me. Wearing the No. 7 is an enormous responsibility because the players who have worn it in the past were and will continue to be legends."

Speaking with Cadena Ser's "El Larguero" radio show, Mariano, who wore No. 18 during the 2016-17 season at Madrid, said that he does not feel any added pressure in the new shirt.

"It's a number, and much respect to Cristiano but also to the others who wore it," he said. "It doesn't weigh heavy but I feel respect for all of those who have worn it before me."

And when asked by reporters after the game about his goals, he said he wants to play well enough to earn a national team spot under Spain coach Luis Enrique.

"I would love to earn a call from the coach," he said. "Of course, I would love to be in the squad."

Meanwhile, midfielder Luka Modric acknowledged that he was exhausted by the World Cup but believes he is finally back to his best.

Modric won the Golden Ball as Croatia reached the final, where they lost to France, and he was taken off in the 85th minute against Roma with supporters chanting for him to win the Ballon d'Or -- something he said he would be proud to win.

"I'm very happy and proud of all of the support from the fans and my teammates," Modric told reporters. "I can only be thankful, but I am not obsessed by it and to me, the team is the most important. The awards, if they arrive for the work I do, perfect. And if not, no worries, life goes on."

Casemiro, when asked about Modric's campaign, said that the midfielder "had a really good year" but he would give the award to Ronaldo.

Isco, though, said Modric is his choice.

"I also believe he deserves it for being a unique player for us and Croatia," Isco said.

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