Spain's forward Borja Mayoral celebrates scoring during the semi-final match of the UEFA U21 European Football Championships between Spain and France on June 27, 2019 at the Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
MADRID - When Levante striker Borja Mayoral steps out on to the pitch at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Saturday, he will no doubt be thinking of what might have been.
The 22-year-old striker played a vital role as Spain won the European Under-21 championships in the summer, but it was not enough to convince Real Madrid that he was worth a place in their squad.
I came here late last season and I only became a regular late in the season, so this season I wanted to be here from the start
A product of the team's youth system, Mayoral scored three goals in La Liga for Real Madrid two seasons ago, but last year went on loan to Levante and this season sees him loaned back to the Valencia-based club for a second season.
"I was here last season and although it wasn't my best season, I felt comfortable here. I like the team and the life and the coaching staff have helped me to improve. I want to continue improving and I think I can do that here. Levante wants me and I like Levante," said Mayoral.
The striker added that one reason he had returned to the club was the chance to continue at the same place for a second season.
"I came here late last season and I only became a regular late in the season, so this season I wanted to be here from the start," he said.
Mayoral explained that he hadn't spoken to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and that he "spoke directly to the club" about his future.
He also admitted that he wasn't surprised about the lack of contact from the Real Madrid coach.
"I understood that, I have already commented that I didn't do enough to deserve returning to Real Madrid. The club had already signed Luka Jovic and I had to look after myself," he explained.
Real Madrid drew their first home game of the season against Real Valladolid, and although Mayoral insisted he wouldn't celebrate if he scores on Saturday, he admitted that "although I belong to Madrid, I want Levante to win."
Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Real Madrid in the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sept 1, 2019. (ALBERTO SAIZ / AP PHOTO)
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