Marcelo, from the 'funquinha' to the top of Real Madrid

In Rio de Janeiro, the distances between one point and another are an exercise in infinite patience.

Marcelo, from the 'funquinha' to the top of Real Madrid

In Rio de Janeiro, the distances between one point and another are an exercise in infinite patience. That, plus a lot of love and passion for his grandson, is what fueled Pedro to travel 100 kilometers a day so that Marcelo could be what he has been: the footballer with the most titles in the history of Real Madrid (25), the second foreign player , after Benzema, and the first Brazilian to have played the most matches in the white shirt (546) and an absolute football legend.

At the wheel of his ancient orange 'fusquinha', grandfather Pedro took Marcelo daily to pursue his dream, until the mythical beetle, which the Brazilian has tattooed on the upper part of his right arm, left Marcelo behind. the bus tickets.

With no money for gasoline or vehicle maintenance, the grandfather sold his 'fusquinha' and saved all that money to buy the bus tickets that he and his grandson needed so they wouldn't miss any training: "Everything I got has been partly because of the. He took me to train, he bet on me, he left me free to choose what he wanted. This made me grow and mature earlier than normal. He came to Madrid when he was 18 years old and I thought he was mature, and now I know that he had no idea about anything », the Brazilian recalled yesterday in the Valdebebas press room.

After almost 16 years, Marcelo said goodbye yesterday to his time at Real Madrid. A brilliant career in which he has added 5 Champions, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 6 Leagues, 2 King's Cups and 5 Spanish Super Cups. In an emotional farewell ceremony at the Ciudad Deportiva de Valdebebas, in which he was accompanied by his wife and two children, closest friends and family, all the members of the Board of Directors headed by Florentino Pérez, and Ancelotti, Carvajal and Asensio as representatives of the first team, the Brazilian enjoyed an emotional tribute: "It's not goodbye, because I don't feel like I'm leaving Madrid," said Marcelo, proud of arriving as a child and leaving as a successful adult, in the professional and the personal.

“You are one of the greatest full-backs in the history of our club and of world football. A legend. Unrepeatable. Your fantasy and happiness were always essential for you to achieve great success. You will always be one of the great representatives of Real Madrid. This is and will always be your home. Our fans will always have you in their hearts and in their memories”, reflected Florentino, with whom he has always had a special relationship.

The Brazilian's tribute had, in addition to an important emotional charge, the impact of his portrait with the 25 titles won. If fate smiles at Madrid in the short term, perhaps Benzema can reach his mark, but the record is already there, forever, in the centenary white existence: «I did everything I had to, I leave very happy and leave a legacy. This was what he wanted to do. That fans and teammates see me as the person I am, not as the Marcelo who won five European Cups.

Marcelo, who puts Roberto Carlos ahead of him, was the best left-back in the world between 2014 and 2018, the stage in which the club won four of five Champions Leagues, but after the final in kyiv his fall was abrupt. Overnight he became a residual player, which led to a few arguments, first with Zidane and then with Ancelotti: "Surely I behaved selfishly, but it is also true that, for example, I got angry with Ancelotti and the next day we were giving each other kisses and hugs," he confessed.

It was not easy for him to assimilate that his best time in Madrid had passed, but when he achieved it, he also knew how to enjoy a role that is not usually valued by the stars: «This season I have realized that the leading role is not within the field . I hardly played anything, but for me it was a lot because I felt very useful not playing. I had a weight and a responsibility. To win, you don't have to play, you have to team up." And that he did in the year of his goodbye.