Real Madrid

Marcelo: Solari sends Real Madrid defender a message

The Real Madrid boss sent a clear message to the out-of-form Marcelo ahead of the game as the Brazilian contemplates being back-up to Sergio Reguilón.

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Marcelo: Solari sends Real Madrid defender a message

Despite being Real Madrid’s vice-captain and one of the senior figures in the dressing room, Marcelo currently finds himself behind 22-year-old academy graduate Sergio Reguilón in the pecking order as Santiago Solari stamps his authority on the squad.

The Brazil international full-back has not featured for a single minute of Real’s last two league games or the opening leg of the Copa del Rey tie against Leganés. In the return match, with Madrid holding a 3-0 advantage, Solari deployed Marcelo on the left wing rather than has habitual position at left back, with Reguilón behind him to offer protection.

The Real Madrid boss has made it perfectly clear that he has no personal issue with Marcelo but also sent a message to the Brazilian – and the entire squad – that on his watch the previous status of “untouchable” has been erased.

Solari: "Competition is an essential part of football"

Asked in his press conference before the Copa quarter-final first leg against Girona whether he had spoken to Marcelo, Solari played a straight bat: “Things that are said privately remain private. But internal competition is an essential part of football. Having everybody feel that they can earn their place, and that they can lose it, makes that competition more genuine and exciting.”

[Marcelo’s] love for the club, his commitment in training and his conduct is beyond doubt. But I have to decide the line-ups, which is a complicated part of my job, and I have to choose the players that best correspond to each game,” Solari continued, before being asked if Reguilón is now his first-choice left back: “Every game is a new game and a different game.”

Marcelo has a good chance of starting against Girona where he will have to convince Solari he is able to challenge Reguilón, a less adventurous player going forward, for the starting berth in games to come. “I would like it if he defended more,” the Real Madrid manager said recently. Now, Marcelo is defending his position and his place in the side.