Marcelo (footballer, born 1988)

Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior (born 12 May 1988), known as Marcelo, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a left back for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team. He is widely considered as one of the greatest left-backs of all time.[4][5]

Marcelo playing for Real Madrid in 2019
Personal information
Full name Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior[1]
Date of birth (1988-05-12) 12 May 1988 (age 33)[2]
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[3]
Position(s) Left back
Club information
Current team
Real Madrid
Number 12
Youth career
2002–2005 Fluminense
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Fluminense 30 (6)
2007– Real Madrid 374 (26)
National team
2005 Brazil U17 3 (1)
2007 Brazil U20 4 (0)
2008–2012 Brazil U23 12 (1)
2006–2018 Brazil 58 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:59, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:05, 6 July 2018 (UTC)

In 2005, Marcelo won a Campeonato Carioca with Fluminense and in 2006, he was named to the Brasileirão Team of the Season, at age 18. By the end of the year, he joined Real Madrid for an $8 million fee.[6] There, he established himself and won 22 trophies including four UEFA Champions Leagues, (being elected to the Squad of the Season three times) as well as five La Liga titles. He has been named to the FIFPro World XI six times, the UEFA Team of the Year three times and La Liga's Team of the Season in 2016.

Marcelo debuted for Brazil in 2006 against Wales, scoring a goal. He was called up for the 2008 Olympic squad, where he won a bronze medal. Four years later, he was part of Brazil's 2012 Olympic team, as one of the three over-age players, where Brazil won a silver medal.[7] Marcelo was selected as a member of Brazil to play in the 2013 Confederations Cup and started all five matches, as Brazil won 3–0 against Spain in the final. He was part of Brazil's squad in the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was his first World Cup. Brazil reached the semi-finals and he was named to the tournament's Dream Team. In May 2018, he was named in the final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup where he once again was named to the tournament's Dream Team.[8]

Club career


Marcelo started playing futsal at the age of nine and by the age of 13, he was on the books of Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro. He comes from a very poor background and even considered quitting football, but his grandfather convinced him to continue with the sport.

Real Madrid

Marcelo joined Real Madrid during the January transfer window in 2007. On his arrival, club President Ramón Calderón said, "He is an important signing for us. He is a young player who will inject some freshness into the side and is part of our plan to bring younger players into the squad. We're very happy because he's a pearl that half of Europe wanted."[9] Many spectators hailed him as Brazilian and Real Madrid great Roberto Carlos' potential successor in the left-back role.

Marcelo made his debut as a substitute in the 2–0 defeat against Deportivo La Coruña on 7 January 2007.[10] On 14 April 2007, then coach Fabio Capello gave Marcelo his first start for Real Madrid against Racing de Santander. Real Madrid controversially lost the game 2–1.[11] In the 2007–08 season, Marcelo started nearly all of Madrid's league games under the new manager Bernd Schuster. His ability, speed running across the field, attack, and defence had enabled him to become a very important player for Real Madrid.

After a string of poor performances in 2009, Marcelo found himself on the bench for much of the remaining season while under new manager Juande Ramos, mainly as deputy to the more defensive-minded Gabriel Heinze. Ramos deployed Marcelo as a winger on more than one occasion, and the Brazilian adapted well to his new role. He scored his first goal after receiving a heel flick from striker Gonzalo Higuaín and slotting the ball past the goalkeeper in Madrid's 4–0 thumping of Sporting Gijón. After the game, coach Ramos declared that Marcelo's future would be positioned as a winger, but will push back to defense when required. Marcelo scored his second goal for Real Madrid in a victory over Almería, a powerful strike from outside the box with his weaker right foot.

On 18 April 2009, he scored his third goal of his Real Madrid career, when he scored the only goal of the game against Huelva away from home.[12] He scored his fourth goal against Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in April 2009.

2009–10 season

Under the next head coach Manuel Pellegrini, Marcelo consistently featured in the starting XI for his versatility and pace along the left flank in offensive and defensive roles. He continued to be employed as a left-winger under Pellegrini, and reached the top of the assist charts of La Liga in the 2009–10 season. He admitted in a press conference at the end of 2009, "I now feel better playing as a winger."[13] His successful performance in Real Madrid's 2009–10 campaign earned him a contract extension on 5 February 2010 with the club until June 2015.[14] This season proved to be his breakthrough season at the club.

Breakthrough season: 2010–11
Marcelo training with Real Madrid in 2011

In the 2010–11 season under new coach José Mourinho, Marcelo was back in his natural position of left back. He started all league games, paying back the coach's confidence in him with defensive steel and attacking intent and gained the coach's admiration. On 25 November 2010, Marcelo was named as a part of the 55 player shortlist for the FIFA World XI. He scored his first goal of the new season in a 1–0 win against Espnayol on 13 February.[15] He had a terrific match against Lyon in the Champions League. Showing his attacking flair and defensive skills, he opened the scoring with his first-ever Champions League goal and assisted Karim Benzema's goal, at the end he was named man of the match, of which Real went on to win 3–0, and progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004.[16] Marcelo then continued his fine season by scoring in the second leg of the semi-finals against Barcelona in the Camp Nou. The game ended 1–1, but Real Madrid lost by an aggregate score of 3–1 since they lost 2–0 at home in the first leg. Marcelo's successful campaign in the Champions League earned him a starting spot in UEFA's starting XI. Marcelo was heavily praised by the worldwide media during that season, and many called him the best left back in the world. Diego Maradona said he was the third best player in La Liga, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.[17]

2011–12 season
Marcelo in 2012

Marcelo was sent off on 17 August 2011 during Madrid's 3–2 loss to Barcelona. On 3 December 2011, Marcelo scored Madrid's third goal in a 3–0 victory over Sporting Gijón in La Liga.

Paolo Maldini gave credits to Marcelo and called him the current left back, "who is a great attacker and a defender, a specialist of both areas."[18]

Roberto Carlos named Marcelo as the world's best left back, saying. "He had more ability than me with the ball and he joins in better," and even called him his heir.[19] Marcelo had shown great performances as a left back, such as in the Champions League quarter-finals against Cypriot club APOEL, while entering as a substitute in the 75th minute for Fábio Coentrão. Marcelo was part of the starting XI as Real Madrid claimed their 32nd league title.

2012–13 season

Marcelo scored his first goal of the season against Manchester City in the Champions League Group stage on 19 September, Real's first goal of a 3–2 win at the Santiago Bernabéu.[20]

As of February 2013, Marcelo had returned from injury and captained Real Madrid on 23 February at the Estadio Riazor which ended in a 2–1 victory for Los Merengues. On 20 April, he played as the captain again against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabéu. In the 14th minute, he sustained a muscle injury after intercepting a long through-ball, but the game ended in 3–1 victory for the home side.

2013–14 season

Marcelo scored the opening goal for Real Madrid against Chelsea in the Guinness International Champions Cup 2013 final on 7 August; Real Madrid won 3–1.[21] During the league season, he played 28 matches, and scored one goal, in a 3–0 win over Levante on 9 March.[22]

Marcelo scored Real Madrid's third goal of their 4–1 win in the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final against city rivals Atlético Madrid, with an extra-time strike from outside the box after coming on as a substitute for Fábio Coentrão.[23]

2015–16 season
Marcelo in action against Shakhtar Donetsk during the group stages of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League

On 10 July 2015, Marcelo signed a new contract with Real Madrid, keeping him at the club until 2020. On 18 October 2015, he scored his first goal of the season by scoring Real Madrid's first goal in a 3–0 home win against Levante.[24][25]

He was a regular starter when the team won the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, beating Atlético Madrid again in the final on penalties.[26]

2016–17 season

He played 30 matches when Madrid won the 2016–17 La Liga[27][28] and was a regular starter when Madrid won the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League after defeating Juventus 4–1 in the final.[29]

2017–18 season

On 13 September 2017, Marcelo signed a new contract which keeps him at the club until summer 2022.[30] During the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League, he made eleven appearances, while scoring three goals, when Madrid won their third consecutive and 13th overall Champions League title by winning 3–1 against Liverpool in the final.[31]

2018–19 season

During the season, he made 34 appearances, while winning the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup for the third consecutive time.[32]

2019–20 season

He made 15 appearances during the league season, as Real Madrid won the 2019–20 La Liga.[33]

International career

Argentina's Lionel Messi evades Marcelo in the semi-final of the 2008 Summer Olympics
Marcelo in action during the match against Costa Rica in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Marcelo scored on his Brazil debut in a 2–0 victory against Wales at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane. He picked up the ball just outside the Wales box and shot for a traditional Brazilian full-back goal. Marcelo has been compared to former Brazilian national team left-back Roberto Carlos, who also played for Real Madrid. The two had played together during the second half of the 2006–07 season before Carlos' move to Turkish club Fenerbahçe.[34]

He was called up for the 2008 Olympic squad, where he won a bronze medal.

In May 2010, he was named as one of the seven players serving as backup for Brazil's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.[35] Despite not being called up by then Brazil coach Dunga, he was selected again by new boss Mano Menezes for a friendly against the United States on 10 August 2010. He was the Man of the Match for a friendly 2–1 win against Mexico away on 11 October 2011, scoring the winner by dribbling past several players and then blasting the goal into the net.

He was part of Brazil's 2012 Olympic team, as one of the three over-age players, where Brazil won a silver medal.[7]

Marcelo was selected as a member of Luiz Felipe Scolari 23-man Brazil squad that took part at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup on home soil.[36] He was part of the Brazil's starting lineup for all five matches, including the 3–0 victory over Spain in the final on 30 June, at the Maracanã Stadium.[37]

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was once again played on home soil, Marcelo scored an own goal in the 11th minute of the opening game against Croatia on 12 June, deflecting a shot by Nikica Jelavić for the first goal of the competition.[38] It was the first own goal that Brazil had scored at the World Cup,[39] although they eventually won the match 3–1.

In May 2018, he was named in the final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[8]

In May 2019, he was excluded from Brazil's final 23-man squad for the 2019 Copa América by manager Tite.[40]

Style of play

Marcelo taking on Rafael Márquez at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Known mainly for his offensive capabilities, trickery, and technical qualities, Marcelo plays mainly as a left-sided attacking full-back or wing-back, but can also operate as a left winger, or even in midfield.[41][42][43][44] His flair, grace, touch, and control on the ball, coupled with his speed, agility, and dribbling skills, frequently see him beat opponents in one on one situations with elaborate feints, such as step overs. His explosive pace, energy, and clever movement, both on and off the ball, also make him a dangerous threat on counter-attacks; he is capable of penetrating between the opposing defensive lines with attacking runs, or getting up the left flank into good offensive positions from which he can receive the ball often, and provide width for his team, essentially acting as an additional forward. Moreover, his crossing ability, precise passing, and his eye for the final ball also allow him to function as a secondary playmaker for his team, and enable him to link-up with other players, create goalscoring chances, and provide assists for teammates. While naturally left footed, he is also adept with his right foot, which enables him to cut inside from the left wing, attempt a shot from outside the area, and even score goals.[nb 1] Despite his ability going forward, however, the defensive side of Marcelo's game has been brought into question by pundits on occasion, who have cited his defensive solidity, work-rate, concentration, positioning, and awareness as areas of weakness in need of improvement.[42][43][54][55]

After his breakthrough season, in 2011 Marcelo was praised by football legends such as Paolo Maldini[18] and Diego Maradona,[17] the latter of whom also called him the best player in the world in his position. Due to his attacking prowess, nationality, and playing role, Marcelo has frequently been compared to compatriot Roberto Carlos, who himself described Marcelo as his heir in 2012, and also labelled him as the world's best left back; regarding Marcelo's technical skills, he commented: "Marcelo possesses a better technical ability than me."[19] Due to his skill, attacking abilities, achievements, and decisive performances in important games, Marcelo is considered by many in the sport as the best left back in the world, one of Brazil's best players ever, and one of the greatest left backs of all time.[43][53][56][57]

Outside football

Personal life

In 2008, Marcelo married his longtime girlfriend Clarice Alves and on 24 September 2009, they had their first child, a son named Enzo Gattuso Alves Vieira. Their second son, Liam was born on 1 September 2015.[58]

He has a number of tattoos, including his shirt number and day of birth (12) tattooed onto his left arm.[59]

His grandfather Pedro, who supported Marcelo financially so that he could keep playing football back in Brazil, is also tattooed on his arm. Marcelo dedicates every goal to him and his wife. In an interview with Real Madrid TV he said that if it weren't for Pedro he would have never played football for Fluminense.[citation needed] His grandfather died in July 2014, during the World Cup.[60]

On 26 July 2011 Marcelo attained Spanish nationality, which allows him to be registered normally rather than as a non-EU player, of which there is a strict quota allowed.[61][62][63]

He is a supporter of Botafogo from Rio de Janeiro and said that he has a wish to play for the club.[64]


In April 2013, Marcelo was unveiled as one of Adidas' new icons for the German brand during a promotional event at the Bernabéu store, showcasing the F50 adiZero and he joins an array of Real Madrid teammates that also wear the Adidas brand including Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.[65] At the event Marcelo said, "Throughout my career, I have achieved some of my dreams, and this is one too. Being next to these stars is fantastic. They have congratulated me, it's a great brand and I am happy."

Career statistics


As of 22 May 2021[66]
Marcelo battles Croatia's Ivan Perišić for the ball during the opening match of the tournament at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Club Season League Cup1 Continental Other2 Total
Fluminense 2005 Série A 122000000122
2006 184000000184
Total 306000000306
Real Madrid 2006–07 La Liga 60000060
2007–08 240206[lower-alpha 1]0320
2008–09 274205[lower-alpha 1]0344
2009–10 354206[lower-alpha 1]0434
2010–11 3236012[lower-alpha 1]2505
2011–12 323307[lower-alpha 1]02[lower-alpha 2]0443
2012–13 140102[lower-alpha 1]12[lower-alpha 2]0191
2013–14 281407[lower-alpha 1]1392
2014–15 3423111[lower-alpha 1]15[lower-alpha 3]0534
2015–16 3020011[lower-alpha 1]0412
2016–17 3023111[lower-alpha 1]03[lower-alpha 4]0473
2017–18 2820011[lower-alpha 1]35[lower-alpha 3]0445
2018–19 232404[lower-alpha 1]13[lower-alpha 4]0343
2019–20 151314[lower-alpha 1]01[lower-alpha 2]0232
2020–21 160102[lower-alpha 1]0190
Total 3742634399921052838
Career total 4043234399921055844
  1. Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  2. Appearance(s) in Supercopa de España
  3. One appearance in UEFA Super Cup, two appearances in Supercopa de España, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
  4. One appearance in UEFA Super Cup, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup


As of match played 6 July 2018[67]
Scores and results list Brazil's goal tally first:
15 September 2006White Hart Lane, London, England Wales2–02–0Friendly
211 October 2011Estadio Corona, Torreón, Mexico Mexico2–12–1
328 February 2012AFG Arena, St. Gallen, Switzerland Bosnia and Herzegovina1–02–1
430 May 2012FedExField, Landover, United States United States3–14–1
527 March 2017Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, Brazil Paraguay3–03–02018 FIFA World Cup qualification
610 November 2017Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France Japan2–03–1Friendly


Marcelo hoisting the European Champion Clubs' Cup as Real Madrid celebrate winning the UEFA Champions League, on 26 May 2018
Marcelo celebration after winning the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final


Real Madrid

Brazil U17





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