On Friday, in the match against Betis, three Real Madrid players – Marcelo, Isco and Gareth Bale – will conclude their Los Blancos careers at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Three players who have played a key role in Real Madrid‘s success in winning the Champions League four out of five times.
But who have lost their importance and prominence over the years, losing their status as first team regulars and ending their adventure at the club with the expiry of their contracts on June 30.
Love for Marcelo
All in all, these are three very different cases. There is no doubt that Marcelo, the first team captain, will leave with the affection of the public at the Bernabeu.
He has already received that adulation when he has had the opportunity to play this season, and at the coronation of Cibeles after winning the 35th LaLiga title.
Although the player still harbours some remote hope of remaining at the club – possible but unlikely – everything indicates that his adventure at Madrid, which began in 2006, will come to an end after the Champions League final in Paris Saint-Denis on May 28.
After 545 games, depending on what happens against Betis and Liverpool, Marcelo has the most titles in the club’s history (24) and is the second most-capped player in the club’s history, behind only Karim Benzema.
Although his appearances in the starting XI have been progressively reduced since the 2018-19 season, his exemplary way of managing the loss of prominence has meant that the fans have reserved a place for him in the annuls of Real Madrid history.
Respect for Isco
Isco, another key player in Real Madrid‘s dominant cycle in Europe, will be more lukewarm, despite never enjoying the label of undisputed starter.
Even so, he featured prominently in Lisbon, Milan, Cardiff and Kiev, when he was performing at a level that he is far removed from today.
This is a far cry from the 53 appearances he made in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, with Carlo Ancelotti on the bench. Today, his numbers are much more discreet.
This season he hasn’t managed 400 minutes of play, he hasn’t appeared in the Champions League and his last start dates back to February, against Granada.
Despite this, in his farewell to the Real Madrid fans, the good moments he has shared with them will surely outweigh the bad ones. His future points to Sevilla, where both clubs from the city are vying for his signature.
The Bale enigma
The great case is Bale, a key player in some of the biggest games of the last decade, with outstanding performances in the finals against Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
But Bale fizzled out with that bicycle kick explosion in Kiev, and since then he has taken on an increasingly residual role in the team, which has combined dangerously with some doubts about his commitment to the Real Madrid cause.
Although Ancelotti tried to rehabilitate him at the beginning of the season, the strength of the new players and his own lack of enthusiasm paint a complex picture of a hypothetical farewell to the place that’s has been his home since 2013.
Because the Bale of the first five years as a Real Madrid player has nothing to do with the Bale of the last four years.