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COPA LIBERTADORES

Former Real Madrid defender Marcelo helps Fluminense reach 2023 Copa Libertadores final

The Brazilian won a host of trophies with Madrid and could add to his collection after a dramatic semi-final turnaround against Internacional.

Update:
The Brazilian won a host of trophies with Madrid and could add to his collection after a dramatic semi-final turnaround against Internacional.
DIEGO VARAREUTERS

Ex-Real Madrid left-back Marcelo hit the headlines several weeks ago for inadvertently breaking an opponent’s leg in a Copa Libertadores clash between his team Fluminense and Argentinos Juniors in the round of 16. Now, however, the former Brazil international has made rather happier memories in the very same competition.

Fluminense’s Real Madrid-esque semi-final comeback

The Rio-based club won that tie against the Argentines and then reached the semi-finals by comfortably seeing off Paraguayans Olimpia in the last eight. But it looked as if their run in the tournament was about to end there with 10 minutes of Wednesday’s semi-final second leg to play.

After a 2-2 draw in the home leg, Fluminense trailed fellow Brazilian side Internacional in Porto Alegre, only for (curiously named) youngster John Kennedy and former Pachua and León striker Cano to turn the tie on its head in the space of six minutes, with the final whistle approaching.

Who will play in the 2023 Copa Libertadores final?

Marcelo and Co survived a couple of even later scares to clinch a dramatic victory and reach their just their second ever Copa Libertadores final, and their first since 2008. Fluminense will bid to win the tournament for the first time in their history against either Palmeiras, who won in both 2020 and 2021, or Boca Juniors.

The first leg of that semi-final ended goalless, with the return game taking place on Thursday. The final will be played in at Maracanã in Rio, Fluminense’s home stadium, on 4 November.

Marcelo’s trophy-laden career

Marcelo, who played the full 90 minutes in both legs of the semi-final, won a whole raft of trophies, including six LaLiga titles and five Champions Leagues, in a 15-year spell with Real Madrid. He will now be going for his second with Fluminense this year after they won the Campeonato Carioca, Rio’s state soccer league, in April.