Not every time do you see Real Madrid give players a resounding farewell at the end of their long stay at the club, but for Marcelo, the story was quite different.
Came to the club as a youngster who had just dominated the headlines in Brazil with Fluminese, Marcelo had quite the profile Madrid were looking for.
On his arrival in 2007, then club President, Ramón Calderón, said, “He is an important signing for us. He is a young player who will inject some freshness into the side and is part of our plan to bring younger players into the squad. We’re very happy because he’s a pearl that half of Europe wanted.”
With Roberto Carlos still going hard as late as 2007, Marcelo knew it was going to take some time to get used to playing for the Los Blancos regularly. However, thoughts of understudying arguably Brazil’s greatest left-back was enough for him to be in the team and continue his development.
In his first game for the club, Marcelo came on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat to Deportivo La Coruña on 7 January 2007. It took him three months after his debut to make his first start for the club as Fabio Capello started him in the league game against Racing de Santander.
Since bursting onto the scene, he has played under different managers, played with different teammates and used different stadia but the quality still remains evident.
Marcelo is as good as Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and to some extent the Iker Casillas in terms of his service to the club.
What does Marcelo’s time at Real Madrid mean?
With five Champions League titles, five La Liga titles, five Spanish Super Cups and four Club World Cup titles among a host of other accolades, Marcelo’s time with the club sees him leave as the most-decorated player.
In 545 games for the club during his 15 years spell, Marcelo was involved in 141 goals across all competitions. He scored 38 times while providing assists on 103 occasions.
Here is a breakdown of Marcelo’s goal involvements (Source – Transfermarkt)
- La Liga – 386 appearances (26 goals and 72 assists).
- UEFA Champions League – 102 appearances (9 goals and 24 assists).
- Copa del Rey – 36 appearances (3 goals and 4 assists).
- UEFA Super Cup – 4 appearances.
- FIFA Club World Cup – 8 appearances (2 assists).
- Spanish Super Cup – 9 appearances (1 assist).
Marcelo may possess so many good memories during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu but the three-peat in the Champions League between 2016 and 2018 will forever be in his heart.
He was integral in all three seasons as the Los Blancos dominated all of Europe beating some of the heavyweights en route to doing so.
Earlier this month, Marcelo’s son, Enzo, said: “I used to see my dad as one of the best left-backs in the world, but now, after winning his 25th title, I can see how important my dad is in football history and how huge his legacy really is.”
Perhaps that was just a young boy speaking the mind of almost all the football people.
Marcelo is a Real Madrid legend but his works may just go beyond the walls of just Madrid to the entirety of the football community across the globe.
Replacing him may not be the difficult aspect but getting someone to fill in the shoes for the kind of period that he did would be far from happening now.
After a great service, Marcelo did it the way that every Madridista would want it to be in the white colours and obviously deserved the farewell the club gave him.
On to a different project for now but the Bernabeu will always be Marcelo’s home.