REAL MADRID

A look at Marcelo's up-and-down decade at Real Madrid

10 years ago on 14 November 2006, Marcelo signed for Los Blancos from Fluminese for €6m. He took a while to bed in, but has since become an indispensable member of the club's success in the past decade.

On 14 November 2006 Real Madrid announced the signing of Brazilian fullback Marcelo for a fee of €6m. Arriving from Fluminese as an unknown quantity in Europe, he was a discovery of Predrag Mijatovic and was given a seven-year contract at the club by president Ramón Calderón.

Early struggles 

When he first signed, Madrid weighed up whether to put the 19-year old in the RM Castilla side or straight in with the first team. With coaches deeming him more than ready for LaLiga, he eventually made his debut on 7 January 2007 in Riazor. He had his idol Roberto Carlos in front him for the left-back position and only played six times in total that season.

Brazilian defender Marcelo with Roberto Carlos

“He doesn't know how to defend”

However, when Carlos left the club that summer, Marcelo had an enormous opportunity to fill the legend’s boots. He found it difficult at first, as Carlos had when he first started out at the Bernabéu. “He doesn't know how to defend”, was one frequent criticism.

The Brazilian also faced competition from Gabriel Heinze in those early days meaning it wasn’t until the 2009-10 campaign under Manuel Pellegrini that we began to see the Marcelo that we know today. His fast progress won him weight in the dressing room and convinced José Mourinho, only for his development to be hampered by injuries in 2012-13.

Marcelo during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon

Champions League final 

The following year, under Ancelotti, he had to fight it out with Fabio Coentrao for a starting place. That season culminated in him being a substitute for the Champions League final versus Atletico, although he did come on and change the game (replacing Coentrao on 59 minutes with Real trailing and going on the score a goal in extra time). Since then his place in the team has never come into question.

Influential Marcelo 

These days his absences are noted (he wasn’t part of the run of four consecutive draws earlier this season) and his influence on the side has helped them to two Champions Leagues, three Ligas, two UEFA SuperCups, two Spanish SuperCups and a Club World Cup.

Marcelo is also the third on the list of non-Spanish players to have played most games for Madrid (372 matches), after Roberto Carlos (527) and Di Stéfano (396).