Marcelo Happy to Stay at Real Madrid Despite Poor Season

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 22, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Marcelo of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 21, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Marcelo has said he's happy at the club after being restored to starting duties under Zinedine Zidane, dismissing speculation of a summer transfer following a disappointing season. 

The Brazil international suffered one of the worst drops in form of any Real player under former manager Santiago Solari. However, he impressed again in Sunday's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and told beIN Sports (h/t Marca's Pablo Polo) the Santiago Bernabeu remains his home:

"I'm going to leave, am I? I don't need to talk about my future because everyone knows the happiness I show when I wear this shirt.

"Real Madrid is my home.

"You have to sweat for this shirt and keep this crest on the top [of the world]. I never stopped supporting my teammates, even when I wasn't playing."

It was under Zidane that Marcelo played a large role in the Real team that ran to three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles, jostling for contention as the best left-back in the world for a time.

His performances have noticeably improved since the Frenchman was reappointed manager in March, per sportswriter Ben Hayward:

Marcelo—who turns 31 in May—has a contract at the Bernabeu that isn't due to expire until the summer of 2022, but his displays this season suggested the defender's best years might already be behind him.

The full-back's contributions suffered first under Julen Lopetegui and then under his successor, Solari, who took to academy product Sergio Reguilon as his starting option in the role.

AFP's Tom Allnutt believes Marcelo's return to prominence doesn't bode well for the other young guns at the club:

However, Zidane has given ample chances to 20-year-old Uruguayan Federico Valverde, 22-year-old Dani Ceballos and full-back Alvaro Odriozola, 23, since his return.

Reguilon has been mature since he was relegated back to Real's bench and told El Chiringuito (h/t Mario Cortegana of AS) in March: "I've never felt like I'm a regular first-team player with the team as I'm aware that I'm behind Marcelo in the pecking order."

Marcelo moved to Real from Fluminense in 2007. He's now in his 13th season with Los Merengues and has his own son coming through the academy of the club:

The player has been linked strongly with a move to Juventus, per the Mirror's Alex Smith. If he moved to Italy, he could reunite with good friend and former Real colleague Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, Zidane's return looks to have also renewed Marcelo's faith to the cause and could reignite his fire in Madrid.

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