"What shall we do with the armband if Casillas and Sergio Ramos leave?"
When Rafa Benítez signed on as Madrid’s head coach, questions regarding whether De Gea would be his first marquee signing immediately emerged. Many fans at the time believed and continue believing that it is only a matter of time until club legend Casillas leaves the club. Sergio Ramos would naturally step in as the team’s leader, as he had often done in the past seasons.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and now it seems that the departure of Sergio Ramos is as likely as the arrival of De Gea.
The Madrid captaincy had not been questioned since the era of Mourinho, where all knew of his preference for an outfield captain rallying the team. Now however, Madrid’s history-long captaincy system may come into debate.
Traditionally, it is the most veteran player among the ranks which captains Los Blancos. Consequently, in the scenario that Casillas and Ramos leave, Marcelo would be entitled to serve as the team’s first captain.
Marcelo’s loyalty and dedication to the team has been remarkable. The Brazilian is a favourite among the ever-demanding Bernabéu faithful, and is rumoured to have a positive effect on the dressing room. "I am very happy here and I want to stay here until I retire," stated the defender in a Q&A session with fans on his Facebook page.
On the other hand, Real Madrid’s undisputed leader on the pitch throughout the past several seasons has been Cristiano Ronaldo. His incredible work rate and winning mentality has propelled him to stardom. To day, the Portuguese forward has bagged 313 goals with Real Madrid, and is only ten goals short of equaling Raul’s record as the club’s leading goalscorer.
While Ronaldo’s agent only recently stated that the Portuguese may finish his career at Madrid, rumours have always linked the star to a final move abroad, with MLS a likely destination. Even Manchester United may tempt their former prodigy.
Ronaldo, as captain of the Portuguese national team, is already accustomed to the role. Still, the Madeira native has been known to throw tantrums on the pitch and at times be absent for team celebrations. His attitude and ambition for success have been perceived as arrogance.
Cristiano should continue leading Madrid with the absurd amount of goals that he scores week-in week-out. However, Real’s long-standing captaincy system should not change to suit the Portuguese star in case Ramos and Casillas leave.
A club such as Real Madrid, filled with large egos and a constantly changing squad, would greatly benefit from a humble and loyal captain such as Marcelo.