Marcelo said a beautiful goodbye in which all his words were pleasant and lovely. He said farewell with a portrait of himself next to his 25 trophies as a madridista, including, of course, his five Champions League titles. Five-time European champion. That term in Spanish, ‘Pentacampeón’, was very much in vogue in the sixties during Madrid’s first run, the five in a row.
‘El Penta’, as it was known, was said with much affection. Marquitos, Zárraga, Di Stéfano and Gento were all starters for the whole period and Juanito Alonso, Lesmes, Mateos and Rial, by the fifth season already substitutes, plus Atienza II and Marsal, regulars only in the first.
Real Madrid’s multi-winners
There were a lot of five-time champions in that streak, among whom Gento would add one more title. In this current crop we have another selection of players, with Carvajal, Nacho, Modric, Casemiro, Benzema and Bale added to Marcelo. Not all of them starters from first to fifth, but they were there. Isco, however, doesn’t count, as UEFA does not include him due to not having played a single minute in the fifth.
Cristiano and Kroos have four with Madrid plus one that they brought with them, from Manchester United and Bayern, respectively. The accumulation of titles speaks of a formidable period, one that Marcelo was front and centre, with his joyful and effective football that leaves us with a trail of good memories.
Europe and Madrid, Marcelo at the top of Cibeles placing the flag around her neck after the last conquest, against Liverpool, ‘la Decimocuarta’, the 14th, the most vibrant of all. In his goodbyes yesterday he left us with some quotes. The one I liked the most was this: “My favourite moment is today. I did everything I had to do”.
He is leaving because it was inevitable, age had caught up with him, but he departs with the satisfaction of having done his duty, looking back without any anger. He has played very good football, he has run many kilometres, he has been a good advertisement for the game, he has contributed to the greatness of Madrid. And he says goodbye with class, like a five-time champion.