Although Cristiano Ronaldo made the headlines, Marcelo was one of the stars of the show in the Champions League in a mixed week for Brazilians
Brazilians are always involved in the decisive stages of the Champions League, and the past round was not any different with Marcelo making a case for himself as the greatest fullback of his generation. The Real Madrid star once again played an essential role in an impressive 3-0 victory against Juventus in Turin.
Marcelo and football is a love story that has lasted for more than a decade, ever since his transfer from Fluminense to Real Madrid as a teenager, the veteran has done well-enough to fill Roberto Carlos’ shoes. The latter is still widely regarded as the greatest offensive fullback in football history. But despite being Marcelo Vieira’s idol, it seems that the student is closing the gap and edging closer to hit the heights of the 2002 World Champion.
Cristiano Ronaldo rightfully stole the headlines following his superb brace against Juventus, but Marcelo has been constantly performing in this competition for years and deserves his own credit. The way the 29-year old exchanged passing combinations with the Portuguese before lobbing the ball past goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon and tapping it in with his weak foot, was simply pure magic.
It is almost unbelievable that someone who is nominally a defender, is capable to pull-off such a moment of technical quality and individual brilliance, enough to remind us why Brazilian fullbacks are historically known to be the best on the ball and the most effective going forward. On the other hand, it was certainly a game to forget for both Alex Sandro and Douglas Costa, as Juventus have seemingly already been ruled out of booking themselves a ticket for the next round.
Meanwhile at the Camp Nou, Alisson was helpless and still conceded four goals despite making seven saves, in a game where AS Roma were never expected to come out with an encouraging result, against the deadly attack of FC Barcelona – who remain undefeated in the Champions League this season. On the same night, the big English clash between Liverpool and Manchester City took place at Anfield. Just like Juve’s Brazilians, it was a game to forget for Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus, as Jurgen Klopp’s men cruised to a 3-0 victory after securing the score-line in the first half – with Roberto Firmino providing the assist to Mohamed Salah for the all-important opener. Liverpool’s centre-forward is having the season of his life, and did not disappoint in the Premier League derby.
The Champions League is without a doubt the most exciting club-competition of present times, and the influence of Brazilians continues to grow over the years, which certainly leads to improvement at a national team level, as the managers will be able to count on experienced players at the highest level of tactical awareness.