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Marcelo: “My happiest day at Real Madrid is today, I feel I’ve done all I wanted to do”

The captain gave a farewell press conference on Monday.

Real Madrid Farewell Ceremony for Marcelo Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Marcelo has said his goodbyes at Real Madrid, even if the Brazilian insisted that he doesn’t feel like he is leaving the club where he has spent the past 15 and a half years.

At his farewell ceremony and press conference on Monday, he started off by speaking from the podium and fighting back the tears. “I promised myself I’d try to speak normally… I think I’m over it…,” he started, before crying again.

Once he fought through the tears, though, he then added: “I want to thank the club and all my teammates and coaches from all these years. And also the kitmen, who have become like family. The other people who work here, the security staff, everyone in the background, those who do the dirty work so that we can focus on football. So, I want to thank everyone who has worked here at Real Madrid, the best club in the world. I want to thank my wife, who has always been there for me, and my children too. We’ve also got the dogs, tortoise and cat at home!”

The left-back then concluded the first part of the ceremony by adding: “I leave as the player to have won the most titles in the best club in the world. It’s not a sad day. It’s a happy day. But, we cry because of all the happy memories. I know that everyone close to me is proud of me. I’m lucky to have had people supporting me.”

Marcelo on his reasons for leaving

Later, Marcelo held a press conference in which he fielded questions from journalists and explained in more detail how he feels at this stage. On the club’s decision not to extend his contract, Marcelo said: “We had a meeting and we decided together that it was time to leave. I’ve always wanted to leave on good terms. I wouldn’t have wanted to be given one or two years more out of pity.”

Marcelo on the 2021/22 campaign

Looking back on the season just gone, Marcelo said that he actually enjoyed his new role. He said: “I’ve always played much more than I haven’t. I’ve been lucky not to have injuries and have good coaches and teammates. But, this season, I’ve hardly played. Yet, I saw this season how I could be useful without playing. I felt extra responsibility. I learned a lot of things this season. I saw that you don’t need to always play to win a league title or a Champions League trophy. That was really nice. Of the five Champions League finals we won, I played in four. The last one is when I felt most important, even though it was the one where I didn’t play. How can that be? Because I spoke with the likes of Rodrygo, Éder Militão and Rodrygo beforehand, which I hadn’t done before. It’s nice to play, but this was special too, even without touching the ball.”

Marcelo on his future plans

He was then asked about what the future holds and denied that he is going to retire now, stating: “No, I’m not thinking about retiring. But, I’ve not thought much about the future. When I have something to say, I’ll say it. I always live in the present. I’ll probably say it on my Instagram. The future doesn’t scare me. I’m very happy with what I’ve done in my time at Real Madrid. I don’t think [playing against Real Madrid] would be a problem. I’m very professional and it’s Real Madrid who showed me how to be professional.”

Further down the line, there could be a job back at Real Madrid, although it won’t be as a coach. As Marcelo explained: “I don’t think about returning because I don’t feel like I’m leaving. But, no, I don’t think there would be any problem to return. It’s not a goodbye. If I come back here and ask for a ticket and don’t get one, you’ll have a problem! But, I don’t see myself as a coach. I’ve never understood tactics much. So, imagine me as a coach! I don’t think I can be a coach. Maybe I could learn, but I don’t think it’s even worth trying it.”

Marcelo on Real Madrid’s future

He is confident, though, about Real Madrid’s short-term future, explaining: “I feel like an academy graduate and I know how the academy works. When I say that Real Madrid’s future is bright, it’s because the future is already bright. It’s now. And, my son is in the academy too!”

Marcelo on his happiest moment

One of the best lines of his press conference came when he asked which day of his Real Madrid career was the happiest. To that, he replied: “It’s today, because I’ve done all I wanted and needed to do and I leave here very happy.”

Marcelo on Raúl’s gift

One story that Marcelo told was about how Raúl took him under his wing early in his time at the club. As Marcelo told the audience, which included the Spaniard: “Raúl, when my first son Enzo was born, you as captain sent us a basket. It was filled with things for the baby, while you gave me a lot of advice too. I’ve had many examples in football and I always wanted to follow your example.”

That even provoked a tear or two from the Spaniard, and from Marcelo too.

Marcelo on comparisons with Roberto Carlos

It is logical for Marcelo to be compared with Roberto Carlos and that debate came up again too. The younger Brazilian left-back legend said: “He was my idol. When I arrived here, I was the replacement for Roberto Carlos but I never wanted to be that. I always wanted to write my own story, which hasn’t finished yet. For me, he was better, but others might have different opinions.”

Marcelo’s joke about Zidane

The last question was about his relationship with Zinedine Zidane and Marcelo started off with a joke, saying: “Oh, I’m not on speaking terms with Zidane because we’ve had many problems… Haha, no! You should have seen your faces!”

He then went on to give his real answer: “He wasn’t like a father to me because of the age, but maybe like a big brother. I have a great relationship with him and his sons.”

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