Real Madrid's Brazilian left back, Marcelo, has had one of those up and down seasons, or rather, down and then up. Injuries have hit, form has fluctuated and, in a team that by the mid-way point in the campaign were already written off as serious LaLiga title contenders, the frustrations have been clear to see.
The unpredictability of Marcelo 2017/18
Marcelo has been a key player for Los Blancos over the years, and was a crucial part of the double Champions League winning side under Zidane. The unpredictable nature of his 2017/18 season, however, has been noted: capable of contributing the best and worst of his game in the space of just a few months.
As the focus now turns to the only prize available for the club, the Brazilian may be a key figure in how the year ends. His return to form in the first leg against PSG at the Santiago Bernabéu, including that all-important third goal, was very welcomed. His subsequent injury was certainly not. With Kroos and Modric continuing to look unlikely to make the game at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening, Zidane will have everything crossed in the hope of having Marcelo in his usual left-hand channel. And it is in Paris, if he does play, where we will discover whether it is a return to the Marcelo of the second half of 2017 or that of the early part of 2018.
Which Marcelo will return in Paris?
From August to December the 29-year-old was almost unrecognisable, such was his form. Inconsistent in defence and lacking that explosive spark in attack. Los Blancos were missing their samba, and it only returned in the new year.
Since the turn of the year, there has been a clear improvement in him physically. This has triggered his offensive contribution: a goal and three assists in the 22 games up until the end of December, compared with two goals and three assists in the eight matches since then. The Champions League clash, even without the challenge of compatriot Neymar, will see Marcelo try to neutralize French live-wire Kylian Mbappé as well as out do Dani Alves when heading in the other direction. We will await with interest to see which of the two Marcelos will appear following his latest bout of treatment.