Having lost his place in the Real Madrid team in recent weeks, Sunday’s La Liga fixture against Girona was an opportunity for Marcelo to remind us all of his quality. After all, this is a guy who, for over a decade, has been among the best full backs in Europe. However, all his performance did was remind us of why he has lost his place in the first instance.
Sergio Reguilon has been a revelation for the European champions in recent weeks. The 22-year-old only made his professional debut in October, but Santiago Solari seems to have found the long term successor to Marcelo at left back. Or on the basis of recent displays, the short term successor.
Of all the players to suffer a drop off in the post-Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo age at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marcelo’s demise has been among the most dramatic. Last season, he has widely hailed as the best full back in Europe. Now, it’s possible that his time at Real Madrid has effectively come to an end.
Against Girona on Sunday, Marcelo was largely at fault for the two goals that saw Real Madrid lose 2-1 and fall a massive nine points off the pace at the top of the Liga table. First, he gave the ball away that led to Cristhian Stuani’s equaliser from the spot. And then he allowed Portu to get away from him to squeeze home a header at the near post after a Thibaut Courtois save.
The visitors to the Santiago Bernabeu identified Marcelo as the weak link in Real Madrid’s team and they exposed that. Portu, in particular, got in behind the Brazilian left back time and time again and pushed Real Madrid back towards their own goal after a fairly passive first half performance.
Real Madrid have a series of big games quickly approaching. They have back-to-back Clasicos against Barcelona on the horizon, with the second leg of their last 16 tie against Ajax and then potentially a quarter final tie as well. If Marcelo is so vulnerable against Girona, a side fighting against relegation from La Liga this season, cam Solari really trust him against higher calibre opposition?
Marcelo will go down as a Real Madrid great, there will be a place for him in the club museum, but his time in the Spanish capital, at least as a first team pick might well be coming to an end.
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