News : Real Madrid vs. Chelsea FC – Marcelo: He was brave. But not the old one either
Marcelo jerked his thighs up, his chest pushed far forward. The Real Madrid left-back looked at the evening sky as he sprinted as if hoping to get some support from there. The own strength was not enough. Marcelo simply couldn’t keep up with Chelsea’s counterattack, meter by meter the Brazilian was left behind. Timo Werner shot the ball in that scene in the 41st minute against the outside net, Marcelo gasped for air.
Marcelo, who will be 33 in May, looked worn out after the game that ended with a substitution in the 77th minute. But he didn’t seem dissatisfied either, after all, everything is still open before the second leg in seven days, and maybe Marcelo will be celebrating his fifth title in the premier class at the end of this season.
But there is still a long way to go. And it’s been a long time since the Brazilian superstar of the Los Blancos was ever seen at the highest level in European football; this player with the fine technique and the fast legs, the tempo dribbles and the goal force. As a left-back he always tried to shape the game, he exerted influence, interpreted his role in a modern way – with this style of play Marcelo was a bit ahead of his time and became an icon.
Recently, however, you didn’t see much of Marcelo. He was last used at the end of May 2018 in a knockout game of the Champions League: the final against Liverpool. At that time he had prepared two goals, Real won the game and the Champions League for the third time in a row. As part of this team, Marcelo finally became one of the greats in world football.
But how much world star is there in Marcelo today, who is only intended as a substitute after 14 years at Real Madrid and was only in the starting line-up against Chelsea because Ferland Mendy was missing on the left side of defense?
The semi-final first leg that Chelsea FC had dominated offered several answers. The 29th minute showed that there is still the old, special Marcelo: Karim Benzema initiated the equalizer with a cross into the penalty area. After a corner kick, the ball had come to Marcelo, he looked briefly into the penalty area, stopped the ball and then hit it into the penalty area.
It was one of those creative Marcelo moments where precision and feeling came together and what appeared to be calm in the next moment, unrest in the opponent arises. Like a lightning strike. He is revered for such actions, they are the reason why he has been forgiven for the minor deficiencies in the defensive work again and again.
When José Mourinho coached Real in 2010, Marcelo was on his hit list – but soon even the defensive fanatic had to admit: “He was anything but a defender. Now I fell in love with him. He’s an offensive talent. I don’t want to have another left-back. ”That was probably the case for many of the ten head coaches Marcelo got to know during his time in Madrid. Marcelo actually always played.
But against Chelsea, Marcelo’s attacking instinct was practically only seen in the scene described above. Real Madrid would have needed more of his flash of inspiration, Los Blancos managed just one shot on goal; it is the worst value for the Madrilenians in the Champions League in over 15 years.
This team, which still consists of some of the pillars of the golden Champions League years 2016, 2017 and 2018, still has great days today. As with advancing in the quarter-finals against Liverpool. But the team has gotten older and there will soon be a big break in the squad. “This game demanded everything from us,” said Marcelo, and he must have meant himself too.
Football has also become a question of strength for him. The left-back no longer always sprints as soon as danger arises. Marcelo has to manage well and manage his power, which became particularly clear in the early stages when the opponent was particularly powerful and quickly took the lead thanks to Christian Pulisic (14th minute).
It was no coincidence that Marcelo had four fouls on his account and thus most of the field players. Very often he came too late in a duel, very often there was danger behind him, in the 65th minute he prevented a counterattack with a tackle, for which he saw a yellow card. Marcelo had to go many, long ways.
If Mendy returns from his injury by the second leg (which is expected), Marcelo will probably move back into the second tier. The brave performance against Chelsea doesn’t change that.
Marcelo’s contract runs until 2022, this paper was signed in 2017 – in the golden years of the royal family and the prime of Marcelo. It should be an expensive contract, and given the € 900 million debt and the unsuccessful deal with the Super League for the time being, Madrid will be happy when the staff budget will soon be smaller than larger.
Marcelo is clearly reaching his limits at the highest level today. But he’s still too special for the bank, maybe after 14 years in Madrid he’ll dare to jump to another club. Real Madrid probably wouldn’t get in the way of his icon.