5 Left Backs Who Are as Good as (if Not Better) Than Real Madrid's Marcelo
Marcelo is currently out of action after breaking his foot in a training session with his national side in October but is expected to back in action early in the new year. That will be very handy handy for his club, who lost Fabio Coentrao to injury during Tuesday night's largely ceremonial Champions League match against Ajax.
The Brazilian brace-wearer is an admirer of Roberto Carlos, the former Real defender famous for his banana kick in 1997, and then bothering traffic on the Castellana with each and every subsequent effort until he left Madrid for Fenerbahçe in 2007.
Marcelo is certainly a fine defender, but the world's best? Here are five left backs who may beg to differ.
Despite his bold claim, Marcelo isn't even guaranteed a starting spot with the Canarinha. The reason for this is the talented Lyon left back Michel Bastos.
A powerful runner with a fierce shot, Bastos is capable of turning a game by himself and has a commendable scoring record for a defender. Whether he is better than Marcelo or not is open to question: the two are practically carbon copies, which gives Luis Felipe Scolari a rather enjoyable selection headache heading into the 2014 World Cup.
OK, we all know the stories. We all would side with Cheryl if it came to it. You may even be one of the four or five people who read "My Defence."
But, like it or not, Cole is still probably the finest player in his position in the world right now, and even though he is no spring chicken he is still going strong. The Chelsea left back stands one cap short of a century for England and his contract wrangle at Chelsea (not about cash this time, but length) has excited very genuine interest from PSG, among others.
The French defender unwittingly picked a bad time to join Valencia from Lyon. Unai Emery did what was expected of Valencia coaches: led the team to third place in the league three seasons in a row and threw in a couple of decent cup runs.
However, for the fickle Mestalla faithful decided Emery didn't do it prettily enough and practically hounded him out of Valencia.
Cissokho has shown of the form he displayed at Lyon, particularly against Bayern, and some of the rashness that has marked his career so far: he scored and was then sent off in a league match against Valladolid.
Hopefully under interi... I'm sorry, new coach Ernesto Valverde, Cissokho's talent will shine.
If Marcelo genuinely believes he is the equal of the Magic Dwarf, he has about 80 international caps and two armbands to make up on the Germany and Bayern Munich full back.
Not only does Lahm captain both club and country, he can play on either flank and is as reliable in defense as going forward: something Marcelo has not yet quite mastered.
Lahm has been unfortunate thus far in his career where the big prizes are concerned. A runner-up twice in the Champions League, the silver medal at the 2008 Euros and a couple of semi-final defeats in the World Cup.And he's still not yet 30.
Still, that's a good deal closer than Marcelo Vieira da Silva junior has got, with a couple of Olympic consolations to his name. Come back in, oh, say five or six years.
The Welsh Wizard is attracting a lot of interest from the top European clubs and has intimated that he might fancy a move abroad, something very unusual in British players, who don't like to stray too far from the nearest copy of The Sun or I'm A Celebrity...
But Bale is not your usual Brit, or your usual footballer. He started life as a left back at Southampton and was gradually converted into a flying winger at Tottenham. His finest hour came in a Champions League match against Inter, when he tore the Italians apart single-handed (although it wasn't enough to win the game).
Things are likely to move forward quickly for Bale, especially if Tottenham don't make the Champions League this season, and it will be no surprise to see him in the white of Real Madrid soon enough, although Barcelona may also have a say in the matter.