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Champions League

Marcelo confirms emotional Real Madrid exit after setting multiple club records


The Brazilian defender has confirmed he is leaving Real Madrid after 16 years at the club – as he sets multiple records during his final weeks in the Spanish capital

Marcelo waved goodbye to Real Madrid fans during Sunday's celebrations
Marcelo waved goodbye to Real Madrid fans during Sunday’s celebrations

Real Madrid captain Marcelo has confirmed he is leaving the club after setting multiple records in his final season in the Spanish capital.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side’s defeat of Liverpool in the Champions League final capped a memorable season for Los Blancos and followed on from them securing their 35th La Liga title last month – winning the league with four rounds of action still to play.

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Veteran defender Marcelo has now confirmed he is leaving the club at the end of the campaign, bringing an end to his 16-year stint in the Spanish capital. It follows a campaign in which he played a bit-part role in Ancelotti’s team, starting just five matches in La Liga and not at all in European competition.

Marcelo lifts aloft the Champions League trophy in the midst of the celebrations in Madrid
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Image:

Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

“I don’t feel like a legend,” the defender has explained. “I am a person that enjoys every moment. I had the luck of being captain and lifting the cup before my goodbye. Already the last match was a mini-goodbye but now I can’t say goodbye better than with my fifth Champions League. It has closed a beautiful cycle.”

The Brazilian has been second choice behind Ferland Mendy in the pecking order for the left-back position this campaign yet has remained an inspirational figure on the sidelines. Indeed, Madrid boss Ancelotti has regularly consulted with Marcelo when pondering what decisions to make during matches.

Marcelo’s contract is expiring at the end of the current campaign and it is anticipated that he will now return to Brazilian football, where he previously played for Fluminense – where he made 30 appearances as a teenager before his move to Europe.

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Have Your Say! Where does Marcelo rank in Real Madrid’s greatest players? Tell us what you think here.

Marcelo and Karim Benzema showing off the Champions League trophy after the final in Paris
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Image:

Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Despite only featuring three times throughout Real Madrid’s run to the Champions League title – all from the substitute’s bench – Marcelo was awarded a winner’s medal for the triumph. That was his 25th with the Spanish giants, surpassing the previous record held by club legend Paco Gento, who won 23 trophies at Real Madrid.

“It was a beautiful night,” said Marcello. “When you are the first captain you dream of lifting the cup and I have become the only Brazilian that has lifted a Champions League as captain of Real Madrid.”

Incredibly, it was Marcelo’s fifth Champions League crown – a joint record for any footballer with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric also among that select club. Marcelo has won La Liga six times, two Copa del Rey crowns, five Supercopa de Espanas, three UEFA Super Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups.

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Real Madrid showing off their La Liga and Champions League titles through the city’s streets on Sunday
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Image:

Diego Radames/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“The emotion is brutal,” said Marcelo. “It’s been my last game with Real Madrid but I am very happy. It’s not a day of sadness, I go with a lot of joy, grateful to the fans and for the magical nights that I have experienced in the Bernabeu.”

Not only did Marcelo break the club record held by Gento, but he also became the first non-Spanish player to captain Real Madrid to the league title and the Champions League crowns. The Brazilian assumed that role as the leader within the squad at the start of the season after Sergio Ramos left to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Upon his signing in January 2007, then Madrid club president Ramon Calderon 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.”

Marcelo then grew into the long-term successor to another Brazilian club legend Roberto Carlos in the position for over a decade, helping Real Madrid – for whom he made 546 first-team appearances – to plenty of success both domestically and in Europe.

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