Marcelo must not gamble his Real Madrid legacy in 2022


At the end of the 2021-2022 season, Real Madrid fans will say goodbye to three more players who were vital to the most fruitful era in this prestigious club’s history. After Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane left in the 2021 summer transfer window, the trio of Isco, Gareth Bale, and Marcelo will make their exits in 2022 upon the expiry of their contracts.

While none of these three players have been important to Los Blancos in the last couple of seasons, their legacies with the club are undeniable. Bale, at his peak, was one of the best in the world, no question. Isco, despite not living up to his fullest talent, was a top player for Real Madrid and among the best in 2016-2017 at the heart of the three-peat era.

And then there is Marcelo, whose legacy at Real Madrid and love from the fans supersedes the others. Marcelo is one of the greatest left backs of all time and has redefined the position as a playmaker. His leadership, exquisite crosses, irresistible first touch, and telepathic link-up with Cristiano Ronaldo made him a fan favorite and a centerpiece of the three-peat squads.

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While Marcelo’s physical decline and woeful defending have made him too much of a liability to play anything beyond a third-string role at left back for Real Madrid in 2021-2022, Madridistas will only remember the good times when he bids a heartfelt, teary farewell to Los Blancos in the summer of 2022. He is the definition of a Madrid legend.

Marcelo should not play for another notable European club

As fans wonder what is next for Marcelo, a rumored return to where it all began, Fluminense, makes the most sense to wrap up his illustrious career.

Yet MARCA’s Santiago Siguero has also reported that Marcelo still believes he can play at an elite level and is not ruling out a move to another European club.

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That would be a huge mistake.

From a footballing perspective, Marcelo is not good enough to contribute to another elite club at left back. His defending leaves a lot to be desired, and he would hurt a team too much with his defensive mistakes. Marcelo is far too slow tracking back. He could help a team in a playmaking role further up the pitch as we once saw against Getafe. But is he good enough in that role to justify being on a top club? Wouldn’t a top club have better options? Who would even accommodate this kind of a role for him?

The biggest reason against Marcelo making such a move, though, is focused on his legacy. If Marcelo joins another club, that special connection he had with Real is altered, whether he would want to admit that or not. Nobody would resent him for making a move, but it would change the way his story is written. If Marcelo makes a move to another club in Europe, he may have to play against Real. And that is a heartbreaking thought for many.

Worse yet, though, if Marcelo, at the age of 33, makes a move and flops in a high-profile situation, his legacy is soured. His lasting memory on the pitch at the highest level are failures for the world to see in the Champions League, perhaps, and not simply mistakes that are papered over. And it would be bitter to watch him try to keep playing when he cannot, becoming a punching bag for another club’s supporters.

So hopefully Marcelo does not make such a move. Gambling away the special legacy he has at Real Madrid for one last shot of glory that, quite frankly, does not exist would be a major error.


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