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Marcelo: further into the abyss

An unused subsitute against Girona, Barcelona and Ajax, Marcelo was thrown on in the 89th minute against Valladolid with the game already dead and buried.

Señaladísimo Marcelo por Solari en el Real Madrid.

The abyss that has grown between Santiago Solari and Marcelo was never more evident than when the Argentine coach gave him a run-out in the 89th minute at Valladolid on Sunday, with the scoreboard already reading 4-1 to the visitors.

Even without titles to play for and with a team adrift, there was still no place in the starting line-up on Sunday for the Brazilian, who is 16th in the squad in terms of minutes played since Solari’s arrival.

The 89th-minute substitution was a reflection of the difficult relationship between coach and player. Sergio Reguilón had been in discomfort and Solari made the sensible decision to take him off. As Marcelo stood next to Solari waiting to come on, he practically ignored the coach's instructions, which was surely his way of demonstrating his discontent over the situation.

Benzema, captain in the absence of Sergio Ramos, approached the side-line to give Marcelo the armband and a hug. With that gesture, it was as if Karim, who often seems oblivious to everything, was showing his empathy for one of the heavyweights in the dressing room.

Solari gives instructions to Marcelo as he comes on against Valladolid on Sunday.

Marcelo: now second to Reguilón

Twelve years on since joining the club, after having won four Champions Leagues, four league titles, three Spanish Supercups, three Uefa Supercups and two Copas del Rey, Marcelo now finds himself as an out-of-favour substitute, which has prompted him to consider joining up with his old friend Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.

The powerful emergence of 22-year-old Reguilón coupled with his own physical downturn has assigned him to the bench this season. Even when Madrid began to unravel in the defeat against Girona a few weeks ago, Solari did not bring him on. He also played no part on nights on which he has traditionally shined: in the Champions League against Ajax on Wednesday and the league Clásico on the Saturday before last.

All of that served as a prelude to what happened on Valladolid on Sunday, where, despite all of the injuries, he was still consigned to the bench, only to be called upon for the dying minutes of a game already dead and buried.