Most people would expect Marcelo to go into the upcoming season as the first choice Real Madrid left back, which, in fact, the Brazilian international probably will be.
But the arrival of Theo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid will again put him under pressure.
Part of the Real squad training at the UCLA campus during the tour of America, of course both are, Marcelo has told realmadrid.com ‘he always go into each pre-season and every season with real excitement’ and feels as enthusiastic about the campaign ahead as ever.
‘I’ve been here for many years now but I give my all every season, I try to learn new things and pass on a bit of the experience I’ve gained at this great club to the youngsters. My enthusiasm remains the same, each year I go all out with my teammates to try and have the best season we possibly can and look to win some trophies.’
Adding: ‘The pre-season holds the key to the whole campaign. Last year we had a very good pre-season. When you get to the end of the season with real strength it’s because you’ve had a really good pre-season and that’s the most important thing to enable us to fight for silverware on all fronts.’
Pepe had spent plenty of years at the Santiago Bernabeu but even the Portuguese couldn’t better Marcelo’s run of successive campaigns in the Real first team squad.
This will be his 12th season to make Marcelo the longest serving foreigner in the Los Blancos squad, going beyond the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano and Roberto Carlos, behind his countryman Carlos only in terms of most appearances made, by a foreigner.
During this time as a Madridista, making his debut in the 2006-07 season, Marcelo has won the Champions League three times, two Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, four La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey twice and two Spanish Super Cups.
Marcelo could come under his biggest challenge so far from Hernandez, a challenge he welcomes, and he wouldn’t expect anything less as he targets further success.
He said: ‘I’ve always had to fight for my place in the team, despite us not having had a left wing-back. I’ve had to give my all to make the line-up. Theo is young and he’ll be a great help here at Madrid. He has all of my trust, that of his teammates and the coach. He’s here to contribute to the squad.’
What the poll is asking?
Who will be first choice left back?
How you can vote?
Who do you think will win this battle?
I think Zizou will rotate them
In terms of the squad for this season Marcelo said it was ‘difficult to say whether this is a better squad than last year’s’ and all anyone can do from pre-season is to get into the ‘best possible shape’ to challenge for trophies and defend those Real won, which will need improvement.
‘Last season we won LaLiga and the Champions League, two very tough competitions, but we’re aware that we can improve. It’ll be difficult to beat that, but there are things that we’ve learned along the way and we’re going to try and win as many trophies as we can and we’ll see where it takes us. The key to everything is the work that we’re doing here. We’ve got to continue on in the same vein, with work, work and more work.’
He went on to say he hasn’t spoken to Cristiano Ronaldo at all but Marcelo said ‘his teammates are behind him and he’s aware of that’, Zinedine Zidane is ‘very clear in what he asks’ of the players, wanting them to ‘work hard without thinking that you’re better than anyone’ with ‘revenge’ not the Real aim when Jose Mourinho’s faced in the International Champions Cup.
Finally Marcelo said he planned to stay at the Bernabeu for as long as possible but, leaving the door open for a switch to America later in his career, did admit to following MLS a bit.
‘Real Madrid is my home, I’m very comfortable at the club and I want to stay here for many years to come. I follow MLS a bit and it’s improving massively.’