This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
For years now, Marcelo has been a key part of almost every iteration of Real Madrid’s squad. No matter what changes were made at the club he was always there, present, for better or worse. But lately, it has been mostly for worse, and a change is needed. And the worst of all, Zinedine Zidane had just the man to fix everything.
Marcelo has always been up there with the best left-backs in the world, helping Real Madrid clinch four Champions League titles. The Brazilian has already played a total of 488 games for Los Blancos and in that time, despite being a defender, he managed to score 36 goals and, even more impressively, tally an incredible 91 assists.
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Such numbers are simply outrageous for a left-back and could even rival and exceed some of the attacking players. But despite his undeniable contribution going forward, the Brazilian has been less impressive going the other way, with Whoscored listing tackling and aerial duels among his weaknesses.
And going into their new La Liga season and with the first three games already played, it seems that we’re looking at the same old issues coming to light once again. If Zidane wants to fix this and improve, he should start with a tweak at back: bench Marcelo.
While Zidane was away from the club and the reigns were with Santiago Solari, Marcelo was placed on the bench often. His role was then assumed by a young Spanish left-back, Sergio Reguilon.
Granted, he was never the offensive threat Marcelo still is but defensively he was much more solid. In 2018/19, he averaged more tackles, interceptions and clearances than Marcelo, displaying his defensive prowess in its full glory. But in a rather confusing turn of events, he was loaned out to Sevilla at the start of the 2019/20 campaign where he, as expected, has immediately shined.
On his debut, Reguilon both scored and assisted in Sevilla’s 2-0 victory over Espanyol, proving that he can also be an adequate asset going forward as well. Not to mention that he is only 22 years old while Marcelo is 31 already.
Zidane could have solved multiple problems with just one move, both refreshing the team and bringing some much-needed defensive stability in an area that is begging for improvement.
But instead, he chose not to put his trust into the young defender. Will that decision come back to haunt him in the future?
Only time will tell.